Free space optical communication will allow the same connectivity in space we already have on Earth. And this will provide benefits across a number of sectors.
Will new communications licensing costs make small satellites so expensive that they can't be used for student education?
So long as small satellites are in low Earth orbit – and most likely they will be – the Earth's "vacuum cleaner" will clean them up.
When Vanguard 1 – the "grapefruit satellite" – was launched in 1958, its only companions were Explorer 1 and Sputnik 2. Soon it may have thousands of descendants swarming around it.