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Year In Review... Intelsat

intelsat_sm1210_l In 2010, the satellite industry demonstrated repeatedly the indispensable role of satellite communications. Customers are expanding their service regions and the applications they support, resulting in continued worldwide demand for the services Intelsat satellites deliver.

From the emergence of high definition programming in developing regions to the urgent need for capacity to support unmanned aerial vehicle missions, Intelsat’s global communications infrastructure delivered more connectivity, to more countries, than any other satellite operator.

There are three major trends shaping the industry and driving our strategies to support our customers’ growth requirements:
  • The globalization of content, be it special events or regional programming reaching international audiences
  • The ever-present need for connectivity, especially in emerging regions like Africa and Latin America
  • The increased use of commercial SATCOM services by governments worldwide
With viewer interest in the 2010 World Cup a prime example, the world is becoming a smaller place through the globalization of content. Broadcasters remain in the forefront of this trend. As the World Cup showed, satellite technology is essential in distributing content worldwide. The Intelsat network delivered more than 500 transmissions for broadcasters covering the World Cup matches and, more recently, we distributed over 620 hours of transmissions for more than 24 global broadcast organizations who were covering the Chilean mine rescue.

Intelsat works with broadcasters to identify the most efficient means to enter new regions. On average, the top 20 video distribution customers buy service on our network across three or more geographic regions, demonstrating the value provided by the global reach of this network. The IntelsatONE MCPC platforms and leading video neighborhoods enable broadcasters to economically extend their programming reach to new audiences abroad.

intelsat_sm1210_g1` An example is HBO Latin America Group, which signed a multi-year contract for capacity on three of our neighborhoods to increase its program distribution to cable headends across Latin America. HBO will use this distribution to introduce new high-definition programming in the region. Similarly, BBC World News will use four of our satellites to support its Americas and Asian operations. Sony Pictures Television, also seeking expansion across Asia, is an anchor customer on our Intelsat 17 satellite at 66 degrees East, extending our leading neighborhood at 68.5 degrees East.

Cellular backhaul services continue to be an important application where satellite remains a significant element for expanding infrastructure and connectivity. In our experience, the availability and quality of terrestrial-based services decline as the distance from urban areas increases. Work continues with customers to support their infrastructure build-out beyond the fiber access point. For example, in Latin America, Intelig Telecom of Brazil will enhance its cellular service via the Intelsat 14 satellite, enabling it to expand its network that serves more than 41 million mobile users.

Another example of connectivity can be found in the Company’s approach to meeting the challenges of maritime broadband. Intelsat’s mobility offering allows customers to take advantage of the Ku-band beams designed into six of the satellites in our current launch plan. Maritime data service leaders Newwave Broadband and Vizada’s Marlink unit are using Intelsat capacity to develop compelling broadband offerings for the maritime industry.

intelsat_sm1210_g2 In 2010, Intelsat General business experienced strong growth that was fueled by the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) expanding satellite communications bandwidth requirements. Warfighters continue to use applications that demand more and more capacity, including UAV missions and tactical communications that cannot be met by the DoD’s limited satellite resources. This demand, coupled with a gap caused by DoD satellite launch delays and program cuts, has made commercial satellite capacity a strong complement to military satellite communications.

Hosted payloads offer an avenue to fill this gap. In April, the remaining channels of the Intelsat 22 satellite’s UHF payload to the Australian Defence Force were sold off and, in August, the construction of IS-27 was announced. The satellite will include a UHF payload for use in government applications. Intelsat understands the military’s need for control and autonomy, and believes that UHF payloads offer numerous options to the DoD.

In addition to hosted payloads, the U.S. Navy selected Intelsat to bring the most advanced, next-generation network to its fleet through the Commercial Broadband Satellite Program (CBSP). A team of satellite operators and integrators were assembled to provide the Navy with a solution that includes unparalleled flexibility, depth of operations, growth and surge options, and a future vision for network enhancements. The offering that will be delivered includes the use of C-, Ku- and X-band satellite capacity.

intelsat_sm1210_g3 The deployment of new, customized capacity and integrated hybrid satellite-terrestrial platforms is paramount to the satellite industry, remaining able to address the growing needs of its customers. Intelsat is in the process of executing the largest fleet investment program in the company’s history. In 2010, a ninth satellite was added to the current plan, the Intelsat 27 satellite, a replacement for Intelsat 805 and slated for launch in late 2012. As the new satellites are launched and deployed, Intelsat will have capacity customized for fast growing applications, and will create a global fabric of Ku-band beams that will provide broadband connectivity for the maritime industry.

In addition, IntelsatONESM was introduced, the Company’s integrated terrestrial network of PoPs, teleports, and IP/MPLS based fiber, which fuses with the satellite network to deliver a single platform for converged voice, video and data solutions. Our commitment to providing a hybrid terrestrial-satellite solution is unique when compared to other satellite operators. IntelsatONE delivers the single platform customers demand when seeking a global, diverse communications system. This also holds true for Intelsat’s fleet replenishment program, as the right capacity continues to build out, in the correct location, offering frequency bands that will serve customers’ long-term business needs.

intelsat_sm1210_bio Any wrap up of 2010 would be incomplete without acknowledgement of the unprecedented industry cooperation witnessed this year as we collectively navigated the effects of the Galaxy 15 anomaly and joined forces to combat Radio Frequency Interference. I am proud of the industry’s willingness to join with us in our focus on these and other challenges to ensure television signals, data transmissions and other customer services continue to be delivered with the outstanding reliability for which our industry is renowned.