It was presumed that with fiber, dark or not, that the use of satellite would be phased out for most of the First World. It seemed a logical idea with fiber to every home and backbones in the Tb range that orbital links would dwindle. But that is not proving true. There are still enough folks even in the hinterlands of the first world that need these services –
Eutelsat says that its KA-SAT multi-spotbeam satellite – which was built for the company by Astrium – is the world’s most powerful spotbeam satellite. Ten ground stations using ViaSat’s SurfBeam 2 technology have 82 narrow spotbeams aimed at them in a configuration that’s claimed to be capable of handling a total throughput of 70Gbps. The broadband internet by satellite service is being offered to consumers and business users via Tooway, operated by Skylogic.
The bird was launched last year and went into service this month. More are planned in Africa, South America, etc.
Moving bits via the bird has been with us just about as long as networks themselves. Satellite currently exists as the broadband provider of last choice, providing the slowest speeds at the highest prices. Some new hardware in orbit will give sat service parity with most wired services, but it’s almost certain that it will continue to be priced in a high multiple over wired.
Hughes Network Systems, one of the largest satellite broadband service providers in the world, will launch the Jupiter satellite, which will offer more than 100 gigabits per second of capacity. This is more than 10 times the capacity the company currently offers on its existing satellite, launched in 2008.
The new satellite means that Hughes and its wholesale customers, which will resell the service in Canada and the U.S., will now be able to address between 1.5 million and 2 million consumer broadband customers offering average download speeds of 5Mbps. High-end services could go up to as much as 20Mbps, according to Arunas Slekys, vice president of corporate marketing for Hughes. (Cnet)
Not to down play this significant advance, but there’s skulduggery in the background. Look for the FCC and the Obama administration to take credit and declare mission accomplished in reaching it’s 4MBPS everywhere goal ahead of schedule. This project was well underway when these folks took over. With little or no results to show from $7 billion in broadband “stimulus”, taking credit will be irresistible. Lessen learned: tasking the federal government with improving broadband is expensive and ineffective.
Broadband has facilitated the move of many services that were once the domain of satellites to terrestrial fiber. There may be new hope for the L and S satellite band operators who have been in search of a new cash cow. With the world hungering for more wireless broadband spectrum, a hybrid satellite / earth based system using this 100MHz band is worthy of consideration.
The FCC is interested in learning more about ATC, Dean Brenner, VP of government affairs for Qualcomm, told me. SkyTerra’s VP of regulatory affairs, Jeff Carlisle, said he was meeting with the FCC to point out that companies holding ATC licenses could get 100 MHz of spectrum online within the next couple of years. Back in 2003, the FCC overruled objections from the CTIA and the wireless industry, and told satellite companies holding spectrum in the L and S bands that they could offer broadband as long as it had a both a satellite and a terrestrial network component. Companies with this ATC approval promptly went out and raised billions to create such networks. (Gigaom)
In what has to be big downer for the DISH, they have to pay out a considerable sum to States and customers for deceptive practices, failure to uphold Agency responsibilities, No Call List violations, etc. –
“We’ve had 196 written complaints in Iowa since 2004 about DISH Network,” Miller said. “TV satellite service in general has been one of our top complaint categories in recent years.”
The states had alleged a wide array of unfair and deceptive practices by DISH Network and its third-party retailers.
The states alleged that DISH Network: Refused to accept responsibility for misconduct by its third-party retailers and installers; violated do-not-call rules; failed to disclose all key terms and conditions of their customer agreements; did not disclose that purchased or leased equipment was previously used and/or refurbished; charged customer credit cards and debited bank accounts without providing adequate notice and obtaining appropriate authorization; and committed other violations. The company denied any wrongdoing.
The agreement between DISH Network and the states (called an “Assurance of Voluntary Compliance,” or AVC) says DISH “shall not commit any unfair or deceptive trade practices.” The AVC contains fifteen pages of details about how the company must avoid misrepresentations, must clearly disclose all material terms, must clearly disclose any limitations on programming (such as unavailability of local channels or sports programming), must clearly disclose any termination or cancellation policies, must not violate Do Not Call requirements, must handle complaints rapidly and effectively, and must adhere to many other requirements.
All well and good. How about a peek into Comcast while you are at it there Mr. Miller?
A minor buzz about GPS ‘failure’. First lets eliminate a myth. The GPS system is not going to go blink, and be gone. It at a minimum is a series of satellites orbiting the globe. At worse there maybe patches from time to time where there are insufficient transmitters to get a 3D functional fix. But the real reason not to worry after the jump –
After a government watchdog agency warned that the U.S. Global Positioning System might fail, potential customers may wonder whether buying a GPS device is still a good idea. In a word: Yes.
Any GPS outage is likely to develop over a period of years and the U.S Air Force, which manages the satellite navigation system, is under pressure to speed modernization efforts.
Further, the cost of consumer GPS devices has dropped below $100 for units with turn-by-turn spoken navigation. At that price, the GPS unit can quickly pay for itself. Consumers also don’t require as precise a GPS fix as military users, who are more likely to notice GPS “brownouts.”
The U.S. Government Accountability Office has warned Congress that mismanagement of a $2 billion upgrade program threatens GPS service, which the government offers free to users. Older satellites start dying next year and replacements are being launched much more slowly than is necessary to maintain service, the report to Congress said.
Look we civies are riding on back of a military service provided by the DoD. Do you really think that the US DoD would at this juncture just let the whole system collapse when much of the arsenal now in use is GPS dependent? Won’t happen. The other item many don’t reckon is that the Russians have their own system as well and it too is open to the public if you have the right receiver.
No, this is a piece of Tech Press trying to gin up eyeballs. I would rather worry about the Swine Flu than this issue.
[Follow up] AirForce Space Command somewhat twittery response to the GAO report here.
Are services like DTV and Siris-XM not long for this world? I would say yes and for one reason. As a pay for play kind of service IPTV has it totally beat. IPTV with services like Hulu provide ala carte, on-demand viewing of content. It will do so in a metaphor the user is used to — ads — but fewer of them. The economies are there.
But does that mean all satellite is dead? Maybe not. Like go here. Free-To-Access satellite service is alive and well. Fact is even growing. And will probably do so for quite a while in the future. As commerical services move to an IP based transport, transponder space will be freed up and up for sale at lower prices.
Nor is the downlink Sat equipment static. CaptiveWorks has just come out with a new suite of Linux based Sat receiver/media center/internet radio/MP3 player all-in-one. The CW-4000HD can do all this and more.
Just when you think that orbital delivery systems are just about toast along come some surprises.