Using HTS to Unlock Broadband Penetration Across Oceania

Robert Suber, Managing Sales Director, Asia Pacific

Connectivity is an integral part of transforming community life and has proven socio-economic benefits. According to independent studies cited by the International Telecommunications Union, a 10 percent increase in broadband penetration results in increased efficiency and an increase in per capita GDP of up to 1.38 percent.

Experts agree the demand for connectivity will continue to increase in the foreseeable future, as governments and businesses expand the reach of their broadband communications networks. But while Oceania is above the world average in terms of Internet penetration, that is due largely to the availability of services in urban areas of Australia and New Zealand. Remote residents of the largest countries, and populations spread across the islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, often lack access to fast, reliable broadband connectivity.

The challenge for governments is finding a solution that cost-effectively expands networks to connect all citizens to this growing digital economy today, while at the same time building infrastructure flexibility that can scale to address the potentially explosive demands in the future.

Satellite-enabled services have played a critical role in delivering connectivity and improving the daily lives of millions of citizens around the globe for decades, delivering applications from corporate VSAT and cellular backhaul networks, to consumer broadband connectivity, and maritime and aero services. Today, as the telecommunications industry undergoes a massive transformation to meet the unprecedented demand for broadband connectivity, the satellite sector is deploying innovative technologies that have improved economics and performance, making it easier and more cost-effective to connect citizens in remote locations.

The first high-throughput satellite (HTS) was introduced in Asia more than a decade ago. But a new generation of HTS platforms has entered service in the past few years, delivering much higher levels of throughput and enabling new services by using a multi-spot-beam architecture to concentrate power in smaller areas and increase link performance. Efficient reuse of the spectrum also increases the amount of capacity available. For end users, greater power means smaller remote terminals that are simpler to deploy and set up, including solar-powered solutions that can help eliminate many of the challenges found when using diesel generators to provide consistent service levels in areas where power supplies are unreliable or non-existent. The combination of increased power and multiplied bandwidth means faster speeds, unlocking new and larger applications.

By improving the performance of in-orbit satellites and complementing that with enhancements throughout the ground infrastructure, satellite operators are delivering the connectivity, quality and reliability that improve the lives of end-users. Companies and governments throughout the Americas, Africa and Asia are already taking advantage these improvements and expanding their communications networks, building new businesses and enabling critical connectivity services. For example:

  • Skynet de Colombia is providing broadband and internet connectivity to approximately 600 remote sites, including schools and communities, across 250 municipalities in Colombia under a public-private partnership that ensures digital inclusion, whether citizens reside in remote communities or urban areas. The services delivered to communities include internet access as well as programs that promote the use of technologies in the community. The network is powered by Intelsat EpicNG, a next-generation high-throughput satellite platform.
  • In Pakistan, Supernet was one of the first companies in the Asia-Pacific region to commit to the Intelsat EpicNG platform. Leveraging the improved performance and throughput, Supernet has improved existing 2G networks and delivered a viable solution for expanding 3G/4G services into remote areas. For a host of other verticals, such as government, oil and gas, mining, and energy, the HTS platform is empowering the extension of corporate VSAT and enterprise network services.

The experience of implementing Intelsat EpicNG and bringing it to our customers has affirmed our beliefs about the potential of HTS. With Intelsat 29e and Intelsat 33e, the Intelsat EpicNG footprint spans from the Americas, the Caribbean and the North Atlantic to the Middle East, Europe, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. Oceania will be able to take advantage of these improvements once Horizons 3e, expected to launch in the second half of 2018, is operational and completes Intelsat EpicNG’s global coverage.

It has been estimated that the ground network equipment makes up about 30 percent of the total cost of ownership of a satellite network. The open architecture and backward-compatible design of Intelsat EpicNG and our Globalized Network allows customers to seamlessly migrate their existing network onto our platform and enable them to scale and integrate the latest in satellite and terrestrial technology. Customers can also make their networks “Intelsat EpicNG-ready,” meaning they can begin taking advantage of the higher throughput of as soon as the Horizons 3e become operational.

With these recent technological advances, as well as ground hardware improvements and new service models, the satellite sector is uniquely positioned to economically and competitively deliver broadband infrastructure that supports a diverse range of business segments – including energy, banking, airlines, mobile network operators and governments – for the benefit of consumers. HTS will enable true broadband connectivity, driving socio-economic development and opportunities for all.

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