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State of the SATCOM World
by Tim O’Neill, Consultant

Today, there appears to be disconcerting news everywhere for most business sectors. However, what I personally see and hear is that this shaky time seems to have little or no real effect on the SATCOM arena. You may arrive at a different opinion, but there seems to be a lot of “light” ahead for our industry over the coming years, for the following reasons…

First — The global appetite for video, voice, and data access (Internet as well as private) is not slowing! Many nations are demanding access to communications networks and extraterrestrial access — satellites are the best solution for their needs.

Second – Today’s applications (voice, video and data (Broadband) plus SatTV are extremely bandwidth hungry! The technical requirements continue to grow. Therefore, so will the new technologies coming online to replace older stations and access.

Third – The technology for using satellite based access is more powerful, versatile, and lower priced than ever before in SATCOM history! This includes off-shore platforms and service vessel accessibility. The control and live access needs of Industrial Ethernet are driving more connectivity. As a result, SATCOM demand will find the Industrial Ethernet market is expected to grow at 21.7 percent CAGR over the next 5 years (IMS Research).

Fourth – Defense needs are still increasing for a majority of nations!
  • The International Space Business Council suggests that the Private and Government sales will reach to US$158 billion by 2010.
  • U.S.-based satellite data communications company Orbcomm received regulatory approval and authorization to provide its two-way satellite data communications services in Nigeria, Singapore, Republic of Cyprus, and Mongolia.
  • World government space program expenditures reached a historic high value of more than US$62 billion in 2008. Planned satellite launches in the next ten years are expected to increase 38 percent over the previous decade, according to a report released last December by Euroconsult.
A number of new universal access programs have come to light since NSR’s well-planned Broadband Satellite Markets 7th Edition study was released in June 2008:
  • The France Numérique 2012 plan has entered the competitive phase with several potential service providers, including SES Astra and Eutelsat as well as Orange, all seeking to furnish broadband services to the estimated 1.7 percent of the population that fall into aDSL “white spaces”. The goal is to offer broadband services at a speed in excess of 512 Kbps and a price (including the equipment) of less than 35 euros per month by the end of 2010.
  • The Irish Ministry of Communications, Energy and Natural Resource launched a 10-point plan in July 2008 that included the delivery of universal broadband access to the estimated 10 percent of households not served in Ireland between late 2009 and early 2010. A competition was launched, and a winner was recently announced, that being “3”, a Hutchinson Whampoa Company.
  • In October 2008, the European Union issued a report mandating universal broadband access for all EU countries. The current goal is to start the consultation and discussion process to introduce this legislation by 2010. Many issues need to be addressed including defining minimum acceptable broadband speeds and what, if any, EU funding will be used to aid counties in meeting the universal access mandate.
The above are just a number of the more recent universal broadband access programs and do not include earlier programs such as in Switzerland, which was won by Swisscom, and numerous smaller, regional programs in parts of the U.K. and other nations in the EU. NSR is seeing real momentum being attained in these universal access programs and fully expects that many other countries in the EU will announce additional projects in the coming years.

Most of this information was contained within the NSR (Northern Sky Research) report entitled:
Broadband Satellite Markets: 7th Edition.

In light of such developments and the continuing positive news for the SATCOM markets, any state of panic should be forestalled as there are good years ahead. If you have doubts with this statement, simply read the daily news at SatNews to become a believer!

About the author
Tim O’Neill “Oldcommguy®” is an independent technology consultant currently working with YR20. He has more than 35 years experience working in the WAN, Analog, ISDN, ATM and LAN markets. Tim also has several years experience in the oil, gas and petrochemical instrumentation arena. Tim has been responsible for technology and designed many products for companies such as GeoSource, Navtel, Network General, Ganymede and ClearSight Networks and is now helping companies get lab and market recognition with technology verification. Tim is also the Chief Contributing Editor for LoveMyTool.com, a website designed to help network managers gain access to valuable information and real solution stories from other customers. Tim is a patent holding, published and degreed engineer, who has seen this technology grow from Teletype (current loop) data analysis to today’s 10 Gigabit LAN’s focused on business applications with heavy compliance demands. Tim has been a consultant on several movies and has been involved with law enforcement and industry at all levels from engineer to senior executive. He helped design and bring to market the first WAN DataScope in 1976. Contact Tim at tim@oldcommguy.com.