In my corner of Florida, we have one cable operator -- but some locals are looking to the skies for broadband connectivity.
During the most recent recession, the Space Coast did not live up to its name. Kennedy Space Center and nearby Merritt Island seemed doomed to become trivia-game answers, much like nearby Cocoa Beach's ties to "I Dream of Jeannie." Several friends -- actual rocket scientists -- sold their homes at a loss, grateful to have new jobs in Virginia, D.C. or California.
Now some have returned and several are working to deploy small, cost-effective satellites to quench the global hunger for connectivity, in even the most inhospitable terrains and climates. Advances in satellite technology are generating interest from webscale providers like Facebook to nations such as Uganda and consulting firms like Accenture, as well as a deluge of new players and bigger opportunities for industry stalwarts.
NASA and a handful of defense contractors now share KSCs launch pads with SpaceX, United Launch Alliance and Blue Origin. The Space Center, as one friend told me recently, is slammed. Whereas it once revolved around propelling people into space, today most of the buzz surrounds unmanned missions that empower people to communicate with their next-door neighbor or a corporation halfway around the world.
Enterprises and service providers are paying attention to the cost-effectiveness satellites, especially Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites will or can offer, John-Paul (JP) Hemingway, the recently appointed CEO of SES Networks, a global satellite-enabled managed data service provider, told Broadband World News.
Getting Grounded About Satellite Dreams
Service providers should consider satellite another tool in their repository for bringing high-speed, high-quality broadband to enterprise and residential customers, says JP Hemingway, CEO, SES Networks.
Advances in technology, coupled with affordability, make satellites an additional resource that service providers can leverage for their broadband infrastructure, he said. Just as fiber may be the most appropriate approach for one region, satellite could be the best alternative for another, Hemingway said.
"People need same end-to-end services no matter whether it's delivered via fiber, microwave or satellite. We integrate satellite into the end-to-end experience," he said.
SES Networks, which launched six satellites in the first quarter of 2018, offers multiple-gigabit capacity with "fiber-like latency," said Hemingway. Next-generation capabilities will advance each SES Networks' satellite from 10 beams to 4,000 beams, he said. As a result, the constellation of satellites will go from its current capacity of 160 beams to more than 30,000 beams, giving SES Networks the ability to cover the earth with fiber-like connectivity, added Hemingway..
This new constellation, slated for availability in 2020-21, will be controlled via software-defined networking techniques, application-aware networking and automation, he said. Leveraging SDN and other capabilities give SES Networks more control and flexibility over its satellites and ensuring satellite technologies are covered in standards are one reason the vendor participates and gets certified in organizations such as Metro Ethernet Forum 2.0, NSO Forum and ONAP, Hemingway said.
"The fact that other people want to launch proves to me satellite has to and will become mainstream," said Hemingway. "It can't be thought of as the point of last resort. We really should be thinking of it as a medium to connect broadband. The satellite industry has been changing, and it needed to change. It needed disrupting. We're ultimately here to change the role of satellite, to be another viable tool to deliver broadband to customers."
The lack of an accurate broadband map means states and counties are tackling this issue themselves – and sometimes finding big disparities in the data – before spending their residents' money on deploying infrastructure.
Years of investment in infrastructure and user-friendly tools make the difference in how operators act before and after natural disasters, even though Hurricane Dorian's impact on Florida was far less than originally forecast (thankfully).
The number and power of Britain's so-called altnets is growing, increasing access to fiber-based gigabit broadband for residents and businesses where incumbents such as BT, Virgin and Openreach did not deliver.
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.