Coming Down from Space, Part 1 of 2

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System Engineering

Satellite operators need to change their business model.

A lot is written about the benefits and advancements of High Throughput Satellites (HTS) and the impact they will have on the satellite market. However, satellite operators will find it more difficult to sell megahertz (MHz) in a hub co-location model, as described here,  and instead will sell megabits per second (Mbps) and in a managed service model due to the increased infrastructure requirements created by multi spot beam satellites.

This change not only affects satellite operators, but also causes dramatic changes throughout the whole value chain. Let’s consider what is driving this change.

A couple of years ago, I talked with a CTO from a satellite service provider (SP) and he said that the company could not build a business case to enable the core iDirect infrastructure on a soon-to-be launched HTS. I realized we had the same problem with a second SP and on the same satellite.

So what was going on?

It turns out both satellite SPs planned to use a new HTS with really focused and powerful beams. However, they needed to use eight spot beams rather than one wide beam in order to cover the same geographic service area.  This meant that they needed to expand their iDirect infrastructure to handle 8X more outbound capability, which would be considerably more expensive. The issue is that the number of remote terminals in the network did not increase; the business case changed from 100 terminals on a single beam to 100 terminals on eight beams. So, the cost of the infrastructure was not viable to get the return on the satellite SPs’ investment.

Fortunately, iDirect solved the problem by working with the satellite operator to build the infrastructure and shared this with different SPs. Thus, the infrastructure costs were able to be shared across multiple business plans. Read More

Intelsat Celebrates 50 Years

Intelsat50Intelsat today commemorates its 50th anniversary of providing critical telecommunications and video content distribution infrastructure for businesses, organizations and governments around the world. In honor of its anniversary, Intelsat created a video library featuring 50 interviews with contributors to the earliest days of the commercial space sector, as well as the business leaders responsible for today’s innovations. The video gallery also includes the stories of Intelsat’s customers and employees who have witnessed firsthand the vital role of satellite communications in connecting the world.

“I can think of no better way to honor Intelsat’s 50th year and those early pioneers of space than by looking to the future and the advances that are taking place in space-based communications that will transform how people, machines, and businesses connect to one another” stated, Dave McGlade, Chairman and CEO, Intelsat. “The advent of high throughput satellite technology, such as Intelsat EpicNG, and innovation occurring at all levels of our ecosystem will ensure that communities and businesses around the world have the information and content they need to progress and thrive. That was our mission in 1964 and remains critically important at Intelsat today as we endeavor to connect people of the world.”

The International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT) was established on the basis of agreements signed by governments and operating entities on August 20, 1964. INTELSAT’s sole purpose was to provide the necessary communications infrastructure that would aid in the socioeconomic development of nations around the world. Continue reading>

Cobham Receives Brazil STC Approval for AVIATOR 200 for King Air Operators

From Talk Satellite

Cobham SATCOM has announced that its AVIATOR 200 SwiftBroadband solution has received Administración Nacional de Avianción Civil (ANAC) Brazil Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approval for installation by King Air operators.

The new certification was developed in cooperation with Cobham SATCOM partner Pro Star Aviation and includes the activation of the AVIATOR 200’s built-in Wi-Fi option, offering access to an extensive range of communication capabilities aboard King Air models B200, B200C and B300 (Super King Air 350).

The approval of the STC for use of the innovative Cobham system on Brazilian-registered aircraft adds to the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) and EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) STCs already confirmed for King Air aircraft, which were also developed with Pro Star.

Kevin Harriman, Pro Star Aviation General Manager, commented: “The AVIATOR 200 is the perfect choice for King Air operators as it offers the ideal broadband and voice solution and is small and lighter than other solutions. It is practical and affordable, and, with reduced hardware and installation costs, the AVIATOR 200 is everything you need to stay connected.” Continue>

MTN and Prestige Cruise Holdings Extend 12-Year Partnership

From Talk Satellite

MTN Communications announces Prestige Cruise Holdings has extended the companies’ 12-year relationship and will be introducing new communications services to its three-ship Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet and five-ship Oceania Cruises operation. In addition, the contract extends to the much-anticipated Seven Seas Explorer. Currently under construction and joining the Regent Seven Seas fleet in summer 2016, it is designed to be the most luxurious ship ever built.

MTN delivers a complete communications solution including MTN Worldwide TV (MTN TV), Internet and voice services for passengers and crew, including the maritime-specific voice app for calling and messaging onboard and ship-to-shore. Prestige pioneered the launch of this app – MTN OceanPhone Mobile – onboard several of its vessels. OceanPhone Mobile leverages vessel Wi-Fi infrastructure and the reliable MTN network so crew can call and message with family and friends using their own smartphones and tablets.

“The investment made to enhance shipboard connectivity through our partnership with MTN helped us expand the all-inclusive luxury experience found on Regent Seven Seas Cruises by becoming the only cruise line to offer complimentary unlimited Internet service,” said Kunal S. Kamlani, president of Prestige Cruise Holdings. “We fully recognize the importance that our guests place on staying connected with friends and family as they explore the world.” Continue>

RigNet Renews Contract With a Major Global Offshore Drilling Contractor

From Talk Satellite

RigNet, Inc. has signed a renewal contract to serve a major global offshore drilling contractor, on an ultra-deepwater semi-submersible drilling rig operating today in the Barents Sea.

“This installation shows RigNet’s commitment to developing innovative remote communications solutions in the Arctic region to support our energy customers,” said Øyvind Folge, RigNet’s Region Vice President, Scandinavia and Europe. “With this latest contract renewal and bandwidth upgrade, RigNet has shown the ability to accommodate the communication needs for expanding offshore rig operations in the Barents Sea.”

RigNet has successfully upgraded the VSAT bandwidth for the rig to 8Mbps full duplex for operations in the Barents Sea close to 74 degrees north latitude. RigNet has demonstrated the capability to provide cost efficient, high quality VSAT solutions with high uptime in the Barents Sea for several years. Continue>

SpeedCast Now Listed on the Australian Stock Exchange

From Talk Satellite

SpeedCast International Limited started trading today on the Australian Securities Exchange at 12pm AEST under the ticker SDA, following strong demand in its initial public offering (IPO).The shares were offered at a price of A$1.96 each, implying a market capitalisation for the Company of A$235.5 million.

“Today is a major step in the evolution of our Company, following the establishment of SpeedCast as a leader in the provision of satellite services in the Asia-Pacific region and our global expansion, particularly in the maritime sector,” said Pierre-Jean (PJ) Beylier, CEO of SpeedCast. “This listing will enable us to continue executing on our growth plans and on our focus to deliver unsurpassed service reliability and customer support.”

“We have been greatly encouraged by the institutional and retail shareholder response to the IPO and the strong demand for shares,” Beylier added. “I want to thank all our employees, customers, shareholders and partners who have made this new milestone possible.”

“Working with PJ and the management team at SpeedCast, we have completed a tremendous amount of work to build the Company to the point that it can become a listed company,” said John Mackay, Chairman of the Board of SpeedCast. “We are confident this will be one of many milestones to come for SpeedCast.” Continue>

SIS Live Delivers Satellite Truck to British Army


SIS Live has delivered an HD satellite uplink truck to the British Army. SIS Live developed the truck for the army’s Media and Communications branch (AMC), which delivers HD footage from frontline operations to broadcasters and other media outlets.

The army commissioned SIS Live to produce an SNG truck which could be flown to any part of the world to by transmit footage via satellite, to broadcasters in the UK and beyond.

The vehicle has three distinct roles: an edit van, an SNG and as a mini OB van, with the ability to mix and play out live to air on a four-camera shoot.

The truck is based on a Mercedes Vito truck with a modified long wheel base which was large enough to meet the requirements for equipment and operational space, yet was light enough to be transported by military aircraft.

SIS worked closely with the RAF to ensure the vehicle complied with Defence Standards.

It has an easily-deployed, lightweight Ku band 1.2m DriveForce antenna linked to a SIS Live’ Uplink Management System, which incorporates its automated satellite booking system, uBook, with potential 24/7 access.

The vehicle is fully equipped for extensive editing and multi-function HD play-out facilities, with an iDirect multi-satellite network providing communications and internet connection. Continue>

Inmarsat Opens Office in Beijing

From Via Satellite

Inmarsat has established its first office in Beijing, China as part of a larger expansion into the country. The company is the only international satellite communications operator with a Satellite Access Station (SAS) in China, making Inmarsat fully compliant with Chinese regulations.

The new office comes after Beijing Marine Communication and Navigation Co. (MCN), one of Inmarsat’s partners in the region, opened an SAS in Beijing. MCN will route Inmarsat’s traffic from across the country through this SAS.

Inmarsat, through partners such as MCN, provides communications services to Air China, China COSCO, China Shipping Container Lines, China National Petroleum Corporation, China Central Television, Xinhua News Agency and others. The Chinese government also uses Inmarsat for first responder communications and disaster relief. Continue>

RigNet Gets Sizeable Revenue Boost From Inmarsat’s Former Enterprise Energy Business

From Via Satellite

Nearly a quarter of RigNet’s revenue for the second quarter of the fiscal year came from the $25 million acquisition of Inmarsat’s enterprise energy business unit, which the company purchased in January. RigNet confirmed the profitability of its new assets during its second quarter earnings call, where it reported that of $80.7 million in revenue, $19.2 million came from the former Inmarsat business unit.

Through the acquisition, RigNet took ownership of Inmarsat’s microwave network operating across the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, its Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) business in North America, and became a distribution partner for Inmarsat’s L-band services. RigNet is also a Value Added Reseller (VAR) for Global Xpress for five years.

Mark Slaughter, CEO, president and director of RigNet, said that 70 percent of Inmarsat’s former business has been meshed into RigNet operations throughout the Western Hemisphere. The company recently rotated its management team to further integrate the business. Slaughter said that while the number of oilrigs the company covers is increasing, the main source of growth came from heightening demand placed by existing sites. Continue>

X1 Enhancements Expand Your Opportunities

The low-cost, high-performance capabilities of the Evolution X1 remote has made it an ideal option for applications such as distance learning, SCADA, substation automation, and pipeline monitoring. And now, it’s time to take its capabilities to even more markets.

The latest iDX 3.3.0 release brings new features to the X1, allowing our partners to serve markets such as retail, POS, and banking with the X1’s cost-effective price point.

iDX 3.3.0 brings support for additional protocols – such as NAT/PAT, cRTP for voice compression and geo-redundancy—and AES-256 Encryption. We will also be adding enhanced VLAN capabilities as well. With support for up to 8 VLANs, customers can differentiate service and service-level agreements (SLAs).

All of the new software features are backwards compatible with existing X1 remotes with an upgrade to iDX 3.3.0. To learn more, check out our latest video, a close up with Mirna Mekic, General Manager of Evolution Product Management, introducing iDX 3.3.0.