Intelsat CEO: Future Satellites Are Today’s Top Priority

From Via Satellite

Upcoming satellites both near term and long term are Intelsat’s number one focus, according to recently appointed CEO Stephen Spengler. With three satellites expected to launch during the next 12 months, including the first of the high throughput EpicNG series, Spengler said on the company’s first quarter 2015 earnings call that among Intelsat’s many objectives, orbiting new spacecraft is its primary goal.

“Advancing our satellite programs continues to be our highest priority as we seek to achieve long term growth. I’m pleased to report that our schedule for the five launches planned in 2015 and 2016 is unchanged. We expect to launch Intelsat 34 in the third quarter, and place it into service by early 2016. Both Intelsat 31 and Intelsat 29e remain scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2016. [Intelsat] 31 should enter service in the second quarter of 2016, and [Intelsat] 29e should enter service by mid-year 2016,” he said.

Currently, Intelsat has 12 satellite projects underway in concept, design and manufacturing stages. All are estimated to launch and be in service by 2020. Arianespace won a contract to launch Intelsat 34, which will bolster media applications in South America and mobility services over the North Atlantic, as well as the first EpicNG satellite, Intelsat 29e. International Launch Services (ILS) is contracted to orbit Intelsat 31, for which DirecTV Latin America is the primary customer, on a Proton rocket. Continue >

Emerging Markets Communications Announces MTN Communications Acquisition

From Via Satellite

Emerging Markets Communications has entered a definitive merger agreement with MTN Communications. Together, the combined company would have a customer base of 1,600 vessels and more than 8,000 land-based customer sites in remote locations. The transaction is expected to close by the second quarter of 2015, subject to regulatory review and other customary conditions.

According to EMC, the merged company will number among the largest independent providers of satellite connectivity for both land and maritime in the world. The companies’ customers stretch across multiple verticals, including maritime, energy, cruise lines and ferries, yachts, non-governmental organizations, telecommunications providers, global enterprises and governments.

“Since our customers ask for greater speeds and exponentially higher throughput every year, combining into one entity enhances our ability to bring invaluable solutions, with the highest levels of service, for business and mission-critical operations globally,” said Errol Olivier, executive vice chairman at MTN. Continue >

Satellite Industry Responds To Nepalese Earthquake

From Via Satellite

Following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the nation of Nepal on April 25, satellite companies and organizations have stepped in to provide emergency telecommunications services. As of April 27, the United Nations (UN) reported more than 3,000 deaths and thousands more injuries. The Nepal government’s National Emergency Operation Centre(NEOC) described the disaster as the worst earthquake to hit the area in the past 80 years, and aftershocks continue to complicate rescue efforts.

In response to this tragic event, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has deployed 35 satellite mobile phones and 10 satellite Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) terminals as well as laptops and solar panels. The supplies are expected to aid in restoring critical communications and coordinating relief efforts where terrestrial telecommunications infrastructure has been compromised or destroyed.

“Emergency telecommunications play a critical role in the immediate aftermath of disasters,” said Brahima Sanou, director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, said in a statement. “They ensure timely flow of information that is much needed by government agencies and other humanitarian actors involved in rescue operations.” Continue >

Bordering on Bad Behaviour

By Dave Davis, Sr. Systems Engineer, iDirect EuropeDave Davis

At the recent Counter Terror Expo (CT Expo) in London there was a lot of focus on the physical side of security, like barriers, fences, etc.; this is to be expected. Let’s face it, barriers and fences are the first things most people think of when they are trying to control access to an area.

The area that is being secured could be anything from a small perimeter of tens of metres, such as a forward operating base, all the way up to a national border spanning hundreds, maybe thousands, of kilometres.

There are obvious limitations to fences. They can be easily breached if they span across uninhabited areas. Quite often, by the time you realise they’ve been breached, the trespasser is long gone. The traditional solution to this problem is to have lookout points, or watchtowers, posted at regular intervals. These dramatically increase costs. Another solution is to have regular patrols up and down the fence. Patrols are cheaper, but less effective and over time it can be easy to avoid these patrols as they can become predictable. Any amateur that’s watched any movie that involves getting into or out of an area through some sort of fence knows to wait until the patrol has passed so they have the maximum time to breach the fence and make an escape before the breach is discovered.

One of the technologies on display at the CT Expo was a type of electronic watchtower. By installing remote sensing technology, movement or some other trigger can be used to start the transmission of live video or data to a central control point, and quick reaction forces can be used to intercept any potential intruders. These systems require the use of some form of backhaul technology to link these remote sensors to the central point, and because of the remote nature, satellite technology is the obvious solution. Read More

SSL’s THOR-7 Is Smooth Sailing And Performs Post Launch Maneuvers

From Satnews

Space Systems/Loral (SSL), a leading provider of commercial satellites, today announced that a satellite designed and built for Telenor Satellite Broadcasting (TSBc), was launched yesterday and is successfully performing post-launch maneuvers according to plan.

The satellite, THOR 7, deployed its solar arrays on schedule following its launch aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. It will begin firing its main thruster later today in order to propel it toward its final geosynchronous orbit.

“THOR 7 is a very advanced and flexible satellite that will improve the lives of many people,” said John Celli, president of SSL. “We would like to extend our gratitude to Telenor, Arianespace, and all of the SSL employees whose skills, hard work, and dedication helped make this satellite launch a success.”

THOR 7 is a multi-mission satellite equipped with Telenor’s first high performance Ka-band payload, designed to serve the maritime market & offer high powered coverage over the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea, the Red Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean. The satellite also has a Ku-band payload for broadcast and television services in Central and Eastern Europe. The satellite will be positioned at 1 degree West longitude. Continue >

Small Cells Asia: Satellite Profitably Extends Mobile Networks

Small Cells Asia2As data growth continues to expand, mobile operators must look to profitably extend their networks into remote and rural areas. iDirect helped to make the case for the use of satellite at the Small Cells Asia event that took place last week in Singapore.

The venue seemed fitting given the fact Asia is home to more small cells deployments than any other region. The use of small cells, along with the advancement of satellite ground infrastructure and the delivery of more high throughput capacity to the enterprise market with High Throughput Satellite (HTS), are helping to make the business case for satellite for backhaul.

This was a major point emphasized by Gerry Collins, iDirect’s director of business development, during his session ‘The Business Case for Satellite Backhaul 2G, 3G & 4G’ at Mobile Backhaul Asia—which was co-located with Small Cells Asia.

Collins emphasized iDirect’s proven track record in the area of mobile backhaul, and Small Cells Asia1highlighted new opportunities for satellite with small cells. This includes:

  • Rural locations, villages, isolated properties
  • Remote industrial sites – mines, drilling rigs, and machine-to-machine (M2M)
  • Mobility markets, including maritime ships, planes and trains
  • Military and first responder drop-in networks

Among the key takeaways associated with 2G, 3G & 4G networks:

  • 2G networks will remain the primary technology that connects billions of people in unconnected parts of the world. The availability and low cost of 2G handsets make it a logical choice for expanding into remote and rural locations.
  • 3G networks remains a challenge for mobile operators if they don’t have a cost effective means for backhaul.
  • 4G network interfaces that are better defined and allow for greater user-based optimization across a range of different products from different mobile infrastructure vendors. This remains vital as throughput requirements continue to elevate on mobile networks.

Many operators believe that small cells for urban will be integral to 4G given the growing data demand. This demand is projected to grow enormously in the coming years. By 2020, more than 55% of the data will be video by 2020 and 90% of all people over the age of six old will have mobile service. In addition, Cisco sees global mobile data traffic increasing nearly tenfold between, growing at a compound annual rate of 57%.

As mobile networks continue growing at a rapid pace, cellular backhaul remains a high-growth market with tremendous upside for satellite.

MTN “UltraBurst” Delivers Yachts The Highest Communications Speeds Commercially Available This Mediterranean Season

From Kuam News

MTN Communications announces the launch of “MTN UltraBurst” for yachts for the 2015 Mediterranean Season. The MTN UltraBurst service delivers the only on-demand, consumption-based, high-throughput Ku-band connectivity solution available to yachts today. The satellite bandwidth “burst ability” of this service is ideal for streaming content and media to user devices and systems on board yachts. Customers can use their existing antenna hardware. This is key to delivering the fastest speeds, on demand, at the best value while meeting customers’ lifestyle and communications needs.

MTN UltraBurst enables yacht captains and electronic technical officers (ETOs) to select the highest-speeds available whenever needed through a touchscreen via the MTN Maestro mobile app – MTN Conductor. They can make UltraBurst available down to specific users and devices on their networks. MTN Conductor makes managing and optimizing multiple networks on board a yacht as simple as a swipe or click.

“We are able to introduce this level of control and on-demand speeds because we directly own, manage and operate the industry’s most powerful communications and content delivery network,” said Derik Wagner, managing director, yacht services, MTN. “This is one more service from our unmatched technology toolkit designed to exceed the needs of the world’s most bandwidth-intensive yachts. It also extends our ability to offer on-demand, consumption-based plans in one more maritime market. This model provides the most flexibility, while delivering the fastest speeds, at the best value and price, where customers pay only for what they use.” Continue >

Airbus Group Annual General Meeting Announcements

From Satnews

Airbus Group Annual General Meeting (AGM) is being held on May 27, 2015 at 14:00 local time in Amsterdam.

Under one proposed resolution, shareholder approval will be sought for the appointment of María Amparo Moraleda Martínez as an independent non-Executive Member of the Board of Directors. She would replace Josep Piqué i Camps, who will resign as of the close of the AGM.

The AGM will also be asked to approve a dividend of € 1.20 per share, 60 percent higher than last year and representing a pay-out ratio of 40 percent, at the higher end of the Company’s dividend policy. This proposed amount reflects the good financial progress made in 2014 and confidence in the Company’s outlook for 2015.

Among the other resolutions is the authorization for the Board of Directors to repurchase up to 10 percent of the Company’s issued share capital for an exceptional share buyback program. This would give the Board and management flexibility to review capital allocation options going forward, in particular with regard to using proceeds from divestments and to returning a portion to shareholders. Any decision by the Board on whether, and when, to proceed with a share buyback under this resolution would be based on market conditions at the time and other capital allocation considerations, including progress on industrial challenges and planned divestments.

This exceptional buyback would be in addition to a separate resolution for the renewal of the authorisation for the Board to repurchase up to 10 percent of the Company’s issued share capital. The main purpose of this authorization is the same as in the past, namely for employee share schemes. Continue >

Inmarsat Confirms It’s A First: Approval Of Cobham’s Auto-Deploy Vehicle Mounted Terminal Over Inmarsat’s Global Xpress

From Satnews

Inmarsat, after extensive testing on Inmarsat-5 F1 from Cobham SATCOM’s facility in Denmark, the Cobham EXPLORER 7100GX (E7100GX) terminal is the first vehicle-mounted terminal to receive full type approval for use over the Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) network.

The E7100GX is an auto-deploy drive-away system that can be easily integrated onto any land-based vehicle, trailer or skid mount. For the media sector in particular, having the ability to quickly mount an antenna on a vehicle is crucial in order to be ready to connect the moment they arrive on the scene. The E7100GX provides the added benefit of Inmarsat’s GX network, providing access to a much higher throughput and the ability to deliver HD broadcast quality output on a global scale.

When time is of the essence, the fully integrated iDirect Core Module and a user-friendly design enables users with little satellite experience to access GX services within minutes. In addition, with a large 1 meter aperture, the E7100GX is designed to deliver higher data rates and perform seamlessly with rigorous media applications such as: real-time video and audio streaming, video conferencing, and high-speed transfers of large data files. Continue >

RigNet To Manage Services For International Midwater Drilling Contractor

From Space Newsfeed

RigNet has signed a three-year contract with a Norwegian international midwater drilling contractor to deliver managed network communications solutions on a semi-submersible offshore drilling rig in the North Sea.

“We are very pleased to add this offshore driller’s semi-submersible to the RigNet network,” said Øyvind Folge, Region Vice President, Scandinavia and Europe. “We look forward to demonstrating the superior value proposition that RigNet offers around reliable connectivity and a growing array of value-added solutions that addresses the acute needs of the demanding oil and gas community.”

A high-performance and secure network is a high priority for the oil and gas community, ensuring effective and reliable communications, both offshore and onshore, and access to business-critical IT applications. Through this contract, RigNet is delivering a fully-managed end-to-end IP network solution using VSAT technology for last-mile connectivity. RigNet’s fully managed network solutions ensure that the rig derives greater value from network services through increased standardization and innovation. The solution includes CrewWifi, VoIP, enterprise data and Internet access services supported by 24/7 network monitoring and support from RigNet’s Network Operations Center and, if required, local field technician support, with backhaul to the company’s offices via MPLS connection. The end user experience is improved through a WAN optimization service powered by Riverbed® Steelhead® appliances. Continue >