Satellite broadband: growing, not shrinking

John C. Tanner
17 May 2011

Fiber broadband plans, DSL bonding and LTE may be grabbing all the headlines in the broadband access space, but satellite broadband access is not only still a viable and growing business but also a serious revenue generator, according to satellite research firm NSR.

New figures from NSR released last month project that global broadband satellite revenues will grow almost 15% annually over the next decade, reaching $9 billion by 2020.

And while that figure includes both satellite broadband internet access and VSAT networking to enterprises, the former category will account for the majority of the revenue, says NSR senior analyst and report author Patrick French.

"Satellite broadband access services will be over a $5.1 billion industry by 2020," said French. "This is a fourfold revenue increase compared to 2010 and illustrates why so many companies are making major plays into this arena."

Satellite broadband has paid off for companies like Thaicom's IPStar service, which recently reported a 38% annual revenue increase for its bandwidth service in 2010 and a 21.3% increase for its internet and media businesses.

However, said French, satellite broadband access still faces the chief challenge of "remaking the general public perception of satellite being a 'fast resort' service and offering a product that compares favorably to ADSL services in many unserved or underserved markets."

Satellite broadband players are hoping to alter that perception with the launch of next-generation high throughput Satellites (HTS) set to enter commercial service this year, he said.


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