SINGAPORE — Asian satellite operators said high-throughput satellites are not high on their agenda as Asian consumers do not appear ready to pay high-enough subscription charges to justify a dedicated broadband satellite.
With direct-to-home television deployment still a growth market, they said, they have enough capital spending planned without adding broadband spacecraft.
“We have four new satellites under construction and scheduled for launch by 2016 to 2017,” said Osamu Inoue, space and satellite business group president of Sky Perfect JSat Corp. of Japan, referring to two commercial satellites and two satellites to be built and operated on behalf of the Japanese government.
“We’ll consider HTS after that,” Inoue said, referring to high-throughput satellite in operation or under construction over North America, Europe, Russia and Australia. Inoue was one of several Asian satellite operators addressing the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) Satellite Industry Forum here June 16.
William Wade, chief executive of fleet operator AsiaSat of Hong Kong, said an HTS move in Asia would only make sense in urban areas, where consumers have enough disposable income to pay for the service. But urban areas are well served by terrestrial broadband.
“Income drops outside the urban areas,” Wade said. “Do these areas have the income to pay for it? It might need to be driven by government intervention to see the introduction of HTS in Asia. It is unlikely that satellite operators will launch a satellite and hope for an application. I see no significant implementation for five years at least.”
Huang Baozhong, executive vice president of APT Satellite Holdings of Hong Kong, said his company is focusing on satellite television growth. Internet demand in areas unserved by terrestrial networks can be met by existing satellites, he said.
“HTS is not that urgent” in Asia, Huang said. “But APT plans a partial Ka-band payload on a satellite that could be launched in 2017.” Otherwise, he agreed with Wade that HTS will not be a force in Asia before the end of the decade.
Thomas Choi, chief executive of ABS of Bermuda, whose core market is Asia, said the absence of broadband in Asian villages makes an HTS play attractive.
Choi said ABS is in “active discussions with multiple customers to deliver an HTS service for villages.
“We’re not going to wait five years. We want to do it now and we’re trying to get one [satellite] funded this year.”
He said ABS expects to issue a request for bids this year on an HTS satellite.
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