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Year In Review... Newtec

newtec_sm1210_l For everyone in the satellite industry, these are interesting times. New technologies appear on the horizon as well as enhanced developments upgrade existing technologies, all mean the landscape is changing rapidly — the implications for operators and their customers have to be weighed most carefully.

Few areas of industry have been unaffected by the financial fall-out from the current financial crisis. While some infrastructure projects have been put on hold around the world, others are going ahead with renewed impetus, as business opportunities open up, usually as a result of new technologies coming on stream. Many of these new technologies are making it possible to do business in new ways, and to reach markets that were previously inaccessible.

Service providers also have to deliver ever-greater value in the competition for revenue, which acts as a spur to innovation. As a technology provider for 25 years, Newtec has an undivided commitment to developing ways for customers to grow their businesses profitably. The Company is constantly excited by the inventive ways customers supply services to meet demand. Newtec’s commitment to its customers and technology was recently recognized at the highest industry level, with a rating as one of the top three companies in Belgium in Ernst & Young’s annual Entrepreneur of the Year® 2010 award.

In the past year, a number of tremendous success stories from customers around the world have been realized, who have been able to make new technologies Newtec developed work well for their businesses. One interesting application story is an alternative energy program in Italy where more than 5,000 wind, solar, and hydro-electric plants are connected by satellite in a monitoring and forecasting network using the award winning Sat3Play® technology. The ability to create this kind of network cost-effectively for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) applications will become more and more vital as conventional energy sources begin to run out.

Also exciting to see is Newtec’s Elevation FlexACM® technology with an important success in the military and governmental market. The reliability of Newtec equipment, together with its efficiency, allows for significant optimization of satellite transmission and ensures 100 percent link availability.

Elevation FlexACM also plays a crucial role in the work of the Antarctic climate research program collecting and disseminating data on weather, atmosphere, oceans, land and near-space environments. It’s no less important to make connections between people, too, and the great work being completed in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia Pacific by customers reveals just how much it means for isolated communities to be suddenly plugged into the global village.

The revolution about to be ushered in by Ka-band mutli-spotbeam satellites is more significant than many operators realize. The new satellite launches and the capacity they bring will transform industry, and many companies — teleports and satellite service providers — are not yet fully aware of how this will impact their business.

There will be a huge impact as capacity will explode, substantially lowering the cost of transmission. However, the technical limitations of the new satellites will mean access will only be available through a limited number of gateways.

newtec_sm1210_g1 With Ka -band mutli-spotbeam satellites, uplink from any point in the footprint for transmission to all terminals will no longer be possible. Such will have a major impact on many existing players, as the Ka-band satellite fleet starts to come into the equation over the next three to five years. While Ka-band satellites launches are planned with consumer broadband as the primary initial market, we’re convinced that, in many regions, Ka-band will also come to be used for other applications, such as DTH, IP trunking or TV contribution and distribution to cable headends, as such an abundance of capacity and the likely lower costs will open up new approaches to these businesses.

FlexACM — Newtec’s solution for IP trunking over satellite — is a key component for successful operation with Ka-band satellites when they become available. FlexACM was launched in 2009 and won the World Teleport Association (WTA) award for most innovative technology that same year. Since then, further development has occurred, enabling customers to more than double capacity and to deliver 100-percent link availability. Case studies from Newtec customers using, for instance, Intelsat satellite capacity, show an enormous profitable impact, with the increase in business delivering a return on investment in less than six months.

Further upgrades to Newtec’s consumer broadband product, Sat3Play, finds new support for Ka-band operation. Sat3Play has enjoyed great success in Europe, with the ASTRA2Connect service now number one in consumer subscriptions, 90,000 terminals shipped, and more than 70,000 consumers on ASTRA2Connect. Sat3Play is a consumer-friendly solution and one of its key features — the easy self-install set up with the point and play functionality — is fully compatible with Ka-band.

This year has also seen major developments as the introduction of HDTV in our Multimedia Exchange Network Over Satellite (MENOS) solution, first launched in 2008 with Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Arabsat) and the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU). MENOS is now also being rolled out all over Saudi Arabia, and by early 2011, all TV and radio broadcasting operated by the Ministry of Culture and Information (MOCI) throughout the country will be transmitted using the MENOS technology.

Innovation never stops at Newtec — the big product launch this year has been DualFlow™. Specifically aimed at the contribution, DSNG, and distribution markets, DualFlow allows operators to select when they wish to make the switch to IP through support for ASI and IP in the same unit — operators can, therefore, continue to service clients using ASI and cater to clients who have already converted to IP operation.

DualFlow allows broadcasters to simultaneously transport live broadcasting and data over the satellite link in the same carrier and enables two-way connectivity over satellite, introducing new interactive services to boost productivity. For SNG operations, this delivers truly significant benefits, as mobile SNG units become remote offices that are able to access two-way interactive IP services over satellite to conduct real time interviews, and use services such as VoIP, file sharing, and translation for events as used during the World Cup or Tour de France.

Looking into the near future, more new technology will soon be with us in the form of O3b. Combining the advantages of global satellite reach with low latency, the O3b service will add some complexity through the need for two antennas to track the satellites, but it’s definitely an interesting evolution. The launch of eight satellites at eight-kilometre altitude over the equator will substantially reduce latency, but new antennas will be needed to track the satellite as it rotates and catch the next one as it comes over the horizon. Newtec is currently working on solutions for this exciting new generation and are committed to extending the potential for customers so they can explore all benefits of the new technologies.

newtec_sm1210_bio Above all, the Company remains committed through 2011 and beyond as a technology provider — and solely a technology provider. The strategic decision was to continue helping customers with our technologies and to not move into delivering services that compete with our customers and their business. On the contrary, next year a unique partner program will be launched, one that will permit joint growth and success based on a unique business offering in the SATCOM equipment marketplace. Once registered in the program, which is based on three building blocks — products, support and knowledge — partners will have access to such elements as attractive discounts and incentives, sales and technical training, business portals, multifaceted demo equipment, configuration tools. The advent of this new program paired with Company advancement into new markets during 2010 opens the door for exciting new possibilities that will help more customers benefit from our technology, while also helping Newtec sustain expected growth.

With our passionate commitment to R&D, Newtec continues its role as a leading pioneer, shaping the future of the satellite business.