FIRST UP Satcom | India to reduce foreign satellite use • Boeing revenues up • Facebook internet satellite in the works

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TOP STORIES

India wants to migrate Direct-to-Home (DTH) television broadcasters from international satellites back to Indian spacecraft, and is taking steps to begin that process. An Indian minister said the Department of Space, which includes the Indian Space Research Organisation, is “initiating efforts to migrate DTH services from foreign satellites to Indian satellites.” Broadcasters use 42 domestic transponders and 69 foreign transponders to distribute satellite television channels in India, according to the minister. He said India will add sufficient domestic capacity over the next three years to shift broadcasters onto Indian satellites. [Television Post]

Boeing’s Defense, Space & Security division reported a 9 percent increase in revenue during April, May and June, as compared to the same three months last year. The company said O3b mPower, the seven-satellite system it is building for Luxembourg-based SES, completed a preliminary design review during the quarter. Boeing’s Defense, Space & Security backlog stood at $52 billion, with 35 percent coming from international customers. The company also closed new fighter aircraft sales to Kuwait and the U.S. Defense Department during the quarter. [Boeing]

Newly released documents confirm that Facebook is working on an internet satellite project. The documents, released under a Freedom of Information Act request to the FCC, show that Facebook is the company behind a satellite project called Athena to provide broadband internet access. The documents confirm earlier reporting that linked Facebook to a company called PointView Tech LLC that had filed applications with the FCC for such a satellite project. [Wired]

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SES hopes to double the size of its non-broadcast business over the next five years. John-Paul Hemingway, CEO of SES Networks, said data connectivity is about a third of SES’s overall revenue today, but should match or exceed television broadcasting in the coming years. “We have the expectation that Networks will absolutely be the growth engine of SES,” he said. SES Networks includes business from the O3b constellation of Ka-band, medium Earth orbit satellites, which SES is currently expanding. Hemingway mentioned cloud connectivity as a promising area for growth. [Via Satellite]

Telstra has selected Gilat Satellite Networks very small aperture terminal (VSAT) systems to expand the reach of its 4G cellular network across Australia. Gilat terminals are part of Telstra’s new 4GX-lite Mobile Satellite Small Cell program that was unveiled last month. The program seeks to extend coverage to new areas for for customers like rural farmers, mining companies and local councils that are willing to co-fund the infrastructure. [Gilat]

As online streaming services gain popularity, Central and Eastern Europe remains a holdout for traditional linear television programs. Research from the media agency Wavemaker finds that young television viewers between 13 and 29 years old, while increasingly favoring streaming, are ditching linear television at a slower rate than Western Europe. Romania, Hungary and Poland were the top three countries in the study, with young viewers watching an average of 220 minutes per day, down from 226 minutes a year earlier. “Young viewer groups, who most often reach for alternative sources of video content, offer the most disturbing picture of the future of linear TV,” said Wavemaker President Izabela Albrychiewicz. “In this respect, the last half of the year was kind to broadcasters in the CEE region.” [Broadband TV News]

Maxar is considering options to deal with an extended drought in commercial GEO satellite orders that could include exiting the market entirely. Maxar, which owns Space Systems Loral, is considering three “strategic alternatives” to addressing the decline in such satellite orders that include “right-sizing” its existing operations or partnering with another manufacturer, as well as exiting the business entirely. Maxar will make a decision on one of those options by the end of the year, according to a Bank of Montreal analyst who attended a closed-door meeting in June where the company discussed those alternatives. Maxar confirmed it’s weighing those options for its commercial GEO satellite business while noting growth in other sectors, including low Earth orbit satellites and business with the U.S. government. [SpaceNews]

The use of inter-satellite links was a key reason behind Hispasat’s investment in LeoSat, the company’s CEO said. In an interview, Carlos Espinós said he was attracted to LeoSat’s proposed constellation because its use of inter-satellite links limits its ground infrastructure needs. Espinós said the low latency promised by LeoSat’s system should allow it to compete well with terrestrial fiber systems. Hispsat’s investment is “absolutely the same” in LeoSat as an earlier one by Japanese operator Sky Perfect JSAT, he said, but neither company has disclosed the value of their investments. [SpaceNews]

KVH says it has shipped its 8,000th very small aperture terminal (VSAT) for maritime communications services. Citing research from Euroconsult, KVH said the maritime industry used twice as many KVH terminals than it did from any other supplier as of the end of last year. KVH recently introduced a terminal that is compatible with Intelsat’s Epic series of high-throughput satellites, which offer more bandwidth than traditional spacecraft. [KVH]

SpaceNews Senior Staff Writer Jeff Foust contributed to this newsletter.