In the next two months, SES Networks expects to transform the communications industry when it sends a request for proposal out for a software-controlled satellite that can be used for multiple purposes, out of the virtual box.
Speaking at Cape Canaveral's Expedition Tower on May 31, the day before its SES 12 mission with SpaceX was postponed until 12:30 a.m. on June 3, SES executives discussed the pending communications satellite launch as well as the near-future developments the operator predicts lie ahead.
SES Networks operates a large fiber network on the ground, as well as a growing fleet of satellites including GEO (Geostationary Earth Orbit) and MEO (Medium Earth Orbit) models. The set-to-launch SES-12 is a GEO satellite designed to expand SES's capabilities to provide direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasting, video satellite, mobility and high-throughput satellite (HTS) data connectivity services in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.
While every satellite launched today is purpose-designed, that will change, said Martin Halliwell, chief technology officer at SES.
"What we're trying to do is build identical satellites -- whether they're going to MEO, whether they're going to be GEO, whether they're going to be used for direct-to-home, whether they're going to be used for data, whether they're going to be used for mobility -- identical spacecraft ... from input to output," he said. "This is what we're working on and we're very, very close now to issuing an RFP on this. The RFP will be going out in probably two months' time. We've cracked it. We know how to do this now."
Taking Standards Out of This World
"A lot of our satellites are moving, so it's SDN but the topology map is not static," said JP Hemingway, CEO of SES Networks.
The concept of multi-purpose, software-driven satellites comes, in part, from lessons learned from SES Networks' participation in industry standards groups such as MEF, John-Paul (JP) Hemingway, SES Networks CEO, told Broadband World News at the press event. In late 2017, for example, the managed data service provider received MEF Carrier Ethernet 2.0 certification, he said. SES Networks also participates in a number of cableco and telco open source and other standards-oriented organizations, said Hemingway.
"We have a large fiber network. We have to control all our Ethernet, architecture and everything on the ground but it has to be able to connect directly up to the satellites," said Hemingway. "We have to make sure the APIs that are effectively controlling the source of our capacity in the skies are the same APIs that we use to control the ground equipment. A lot of our satellites are moving, so it's SDN but the topology map is not static. It's almost like an extra degree of freedom that we need these standards bodies to embrace but the feedback has been really interesting. It's not just about ground; it's actually a whole new use case."
Deploying DOCSIS 3.1 across its entire footprint gave Rogers Communications the ability to offer speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s,
contributing to a broadband segement that generated about 60% of the Canadian operator's $3.05 billion (US) in Q4 cable earnings.
On Jan. 23, Broadband World News hosts a Calix-sponsored webinar that explores several ways CSPs can enhance customer experience and find new business opportunities to avoid devolving into a speed race where nobody wins, not even the customer.
As the pool of savvy, fiber-rich operators across the US rural and regional landscape wanes, the financial community will grow even more interested in acquiring or investing in them, a CoBank report says.
It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
This webinar will focus on helping CSPs transform their business models by placing a firm focus on delivering a sensational subscriber experience and by offering compelling new services that generate value for subscribers. These actions will reinforce the CSP's strategic position in the home network and position themselves for growth in the next decade.
Key topics include:
Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
Having the insights needed to proactively resolve issues, often before your subscribers even know that there are issues;
Providing help desk agents with the visibility they need to resolve common subscriber issues more quickly;
Delivering a mobile app, in response to consumer demands for the ability to do some things themselves, rather than having to call technical support; and
Addressing consumer concerns around device security, privacy and control with enhanced security and parental controls.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.