News Analysis

The State of Play in the Global VSAT Market

by Chris Frith 

President, AUSPresence

A telco PR executive once remarked to me that satellite was like a solution always looking for a problem.  Given that he was looking to represent my satellite consultancy firm, I thought this was an odd way to earn my business!  Dents to my ego aside, what this guy was reflecting is simply the wider telecommunications industry and a great many potential customers’ perception of satellite – VSAT communications in particular.  How things have changed! Now, not only do the problems exist – let’s refer to them as needs (it’s more marketing friendly) but also customers are willing and have the means to pay for them. Today, we have broadband satellite providing internet access not just in the remote areas but right up close to population centres; innovative service providers are marketing hybrid satellite networks on the basis of their increased reliability and quick deploy systems which provide large scale connectivity to those first on the ground when disaster strikes. So let’s take a closer look at what needs are emerging and how leading VSAT service providers are rising to the challenge. Then we’ll take a look into the crystal ball to see where this is heading.

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Prospects and Opportunities in the Middle East Satellite Market

by Bruce Elbert

President, Application Technology Strategy, Inc.

Markets for satellite communications equipment and services have expanded to fill the gaps in terrestrial broadcasting and telecommunications networks. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Middle East, which is the focus of this article.

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ITU Standards in Disaster Relief: The Role of Satellites

by Roxana Dunnette

The increasing use of telecommunications and ICTs for emergency communications, international agreements, new national policies, partnerships for cooperation in emergency are important tools already in place for even faster response to disasters.The International Telecommuni-cations Union (ITU) as the UN agency encharged with telecom-munications and information communications techno-logies (ICT) is leading the efforts in harmonizing technologies, services and establishing standards for emergency com-munications. All ITU sectors are involved and are working hard at the complexity of this issue. This article presents a short summary of ITU standards, recom-mendations and studies on the subject of emergency communications.

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Video Over IP: What it Means for Satellite Service Providers

by Dr. Andrea Franz and Dr. Gerhard Franz

With the introduction of digital TV a new way of video transport and delivery has emerged, using the Internet Protocol (IP). Video over IP is a general term to describe the use of IP in any or all stages of video transport to the subscriber (or end-customer). This has to be distinguished from the term IPTV, which means specifically the delivery of video as an IP stream to the subscriber set-top box or TV set. All digital video today that is broadcast, transported over satellite or distributed in cable systems is using the MPEG transport stream (TS) communications protocol. This worldwide standard describes the way a digital TV signal (audio, video and data) is encapsulated in a specific container format. It also includes metadata such as electronic program guides (EPG).

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Maritime Communications: Is it all "At Sea"?

by Martin Jarrold

Director, International Programs, GVF

My previous column for this publication focused on the oil and gas exploration and production sector, with particular reference to the increasing attention of the energy industry on deepwater and ultra-deepwater hydrocarbon reserves which now appear to be much more abundant than was thought ten years ago. A result of this is that the applications solutions and broadband communications solutions imperatives of the energy market, whilst they represent, in relative terms, a small fraction of energy companies’ total CAPEX and OPEX, well managed ICT networks can play a disproportionately great role in reducing expenditures in exploration, drilling, and production.

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Leveraging Energy Sector Satcoms for Development

by Martin Jarrold

Chief, International Programs Development, GVF

Deployment of broadband satellite technologies is correctly recognized as an imperative to maximization of cutting-edge digital oilfield applications and to considerations of cost-effectiveness – it is a force multiplier, enabling return on investment, as well as facilitating mission critical communications links.

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The Middle East Market: Poised for Growth

by  Bruce Elbert

President,  Application Technology Strategy, Inc.

The video distribution business in the Middle East is booming. Last year,  we provided an overview of commercial Middle Eastern Satellite Communications, based on primary and secondary research. What we provide here is an update from the perspective we gained during travel to the region in the month of June 2009, which included visits to major facilities. In this article, we report on the leading teleports in Dubai, UAE, and Amman, Jordan.

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Asia-Pacific Satellite Market Replete with Opportunities

by Tom van der Heyden

In the course of my work as a consultant and executive recruiter based in Asia, I have spoken to over 150 satellite and digital broadcast sales, business development and senior management professionals in the last six months on the prospects of the Asian market. The consensus among key satellite executives is that the business of satellite communications in Asia continues to grow and is better off than other regional markets by "a significant margin."

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Opportunities in the DTH Ground Equipment Market

by Virgil Labrador, Editor-in-Chief

From 2005 to 2008, the number of direct-to-home (DTH) satellite platforms grew over 49% from 65 to 97 platforms worldwide, according to estimates by Euroconsult. At least 10 new DTH platforms were announced in 2008. Despite this dramatic growth in DTH platforms, the industry is facing pressure to reduce costs in the current global economic environment in order to maintain and expand its subscriber base and to meet investor expectations for returns. Growth in demand for content also drives a continuous need for expansion, upgrade and extension of both space and ground segment systems for DTH providers.

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The Price of 'Free-to-Air' Satellite TV

by Bruce Elbert, President Application Technology Strategy, Inc.

with Michelle Elbert

Satellite TV is the biggest money maker for the overall satellite industry, creating investment, subscriber base and wealth. It rests on the solid revenue footing from a food chain that ranges from the end user paying for subscriptions to networks that collect from advertisers and affiliates like TV stations and cable systems. However, we are witnessing a new business model that provides a free service to end users who only need to buy reception equipment consisting of a dish with a digital set-top-box. This is not unlike C-band backyard dishes of the US from the early 1980s, before HBO began to scramble their signal.

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