Middle East, India show DTH boom

03 Nov 2006

(Via Satellite via NewsEdge) The number of satellite dishes found in the vast region stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Bay of Bengal has exploded throughout the past decade, and rooftops are filling up fast as more dishes are being installed to receive new direct-to-home (DTH) and broadband services.

India is a vibrant VSAT and DTH market eager to embrace new variations of multi-lingual programming in particular, including interactive gaming. The same is true for the Middle East, a zone that has openly wrestled with the growing presence of satellite TV services and has witnessed attempts by various governments to suppress DTH.

In 2008, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) plans to deploy an S-band spot beam-equipped Insat series satellite to support nationwide voice, messaging and IP-based data services.

This digital multimedia broadcasting satellite, along with the recent launch by ISRO of Edusat - a unique satellite dedicated to supporting distance education programs - underscores India's lead position in terms of being the dominant regional satellite power.

It also points to India's growing appreciation of the importance of satellite technology with significant implications for satellite-related market growth in terms of commercial, consumer and military applications.

At the same time, companies across the Middle East and South Asia are looking for faster ways to grow their businesses. They are putting more emphasis on high-speed, IP-based data networking for combined data, voice and videoconferencing services and driving demand for IP VSATs as well as satellite-based virtual private network (VPN) services.

"As the applications and services have matured, the need for VPNs has grown," said Soheil Mehrabanzad, assistant vice president and general manager for the Middle East and Africa for Hughes Network Systems. "In fact, a majority of the (small and medium enterprise) and corporate customers do require a secure link and the ability to connect to their corporate headquarters from anywhere in the region or the world."

There is growing regional demand for more robust handheld mobile satellite service (MSS) solutions, and this coincides with a noticeable uptick in wireless IP networking in general.

"Wi-Fi hotspots have given business and personal mobility quite a boost in the region," Mehrabanzad said. "Several years ago, it was very difficult to be able to connect at airports or coffee shops, but it is now a given in major airports in the region."

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