WASHINGTON — The number of mainly Ka-band high-throughput satellites in orbit or in development far exceeds the likely demand and will pose problems for operators of traditional satellite trunking businesses, market consultant NSR has concluded.
At a March 11 briefing in Washington, NSR raised its estimate of how much high-throughput satellite (HTS) capacity is likely to be in orbit in a decade — 2.4 terabits per second. Projected demand for the capacity, while also rising as broadband applications proliferate around the world, is maybe 50 percent of that.
“There will be a great deal of cheap capacity available,” NSR President Chris Baugh said in a presentation of NSR’s latest assessment of HTS supply and demand. “The numbers don’t work out. If I were an FSS [fixed satellite services] operator with a trunking business, I’d be concerned.”
Point-to-point trunking is one of the oldest satellite transmission functions and is viewed as the most likely to be overtaken by HTS satellites that can deliver a megabit more cheaply.
NSR’s survey found 30 satellites with at least some HTS capacity were ordered in since early 2012, including 20 in 2013 and two so far in 2014.
Industry officials continue to debate what effect the HTS trend will have on traditional satellite business. While broadcast functions such as direct-to-home television appear to occupy high ground, at least for now, point-to-point applications are at risk of disappearing as these markets turn to HTS, NSR has concluded.
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