Mark Goldberg

The promise of satellite communications

Earlier this week, FCC Chair Ajit Pai spoke [pdf, 66KB] at the annual dinner for the Satellite Industry Association. Included in his remarks was a statement supporting the projected tripling in size of the space industry, taken from a recent Morgan Stanley report. The “largest opportunity comes from providing Internet access to under- and unserved parts of the world”.

The FCC Chair spoke of the significant opportunities arising from the latest generation of satellites, saying that we are at “an inflection point for satellite broadband”:

Breakthroughs are already happening.

Just two weeks ago, Viasat began offering 100 Mbps broadband service in the United States with unlimited data. This was made possible by high-throughput satellites that use spot-beam technology and frequency re-use to dramatically increase capacity. Other companies have applications before the FCC for similar high-throughput satellite service.

He also indicated that re-usable rockets are reducing the cost of launching a large satellite “from $200 million to $60 million and could go much lower.” As a result, a lot more satellites are on the physical and planning horizons. Constellations of non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) satellites, using Low-Earth, Medium-Earth, and Highly Elliptical Earth Orbits offer the potential for faster, lower latency internet services.

Samer Bishay of Iristel and Allison Lenehan of Xplornet will be speaking at The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit. Both of these industry leaders are working on solutions to deliver high throughput broadband services in rural and remote areas of the country, and each have included satellite technologies as part of their portfolio of technology solutions.

The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit is taking place June 4-6, in Toronto. Have you registered yet?

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