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Satellites - the vital link

Written by  David Ball
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David BallIssue:Asia-Pacific I 2008
Article no.:3
Topic:Satellites - the vital link
Author:David Ball
Title:Regional Vice President, Asia-Pacific
Organisation:Intelsat
PDF size:249KB

About author

David Ball is Intelsat’s Asia-Pacific Regional Vice President responsible for the company’s sales and marketing activities throughout the Asia-Pacific region. He joined Intelsat following Intelsat’s merger with PanAmSat, where he was Vice President for Asia-Pacific and had previously held a variety of positions in sales, engineering and space systems development. Prior to joining PanAmSat, Mr Ball served as a commissioned officer in the RAAF, specializing in communications system management. Mr Ball is a member of the Council of Governors of CASBAA, Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia, and is also a member of the CASBAA Satellite Industry Committee. Born in Melbourne, Australia, Mr Ball holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree (Communications Engineering) from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and a Graduate Diploma in Business Management from Deakin University.

 

Article abstract

Satellite telecommunications play a vital role in the Asia-Pacific region. Satellites bring network connectivity to remote villages and often provide the only reliable platform that businesses and government offices have within the region for vital communications. During emergencies such as the Taiwan earthquake last December, satellites quickly restored services for many voice, video and data providers. Currently, though, providing redundant and secure delivery of TV content to the IPTV networks is one of the major uses for satellite transmission.

 

Full Article

In 2007, the Asia-Pacific region once again witnessed the importance that satellite-enabled distribution platforms play, specifically for data transmissions. Even with continued fibre rollouts, according to industry analysts, the Asia-Pacific region has been, and continues to be, a fast-growing market for satellite-enabled networks. Throughout the region, more than 100,000 terminals are deployed for vital networking services such as VoIP, Internet trunking and defence data communications. Indeed, satellite-enabled broadband networks are gaining momentum and connecting the digital divide throughout many parts of the Asia-Pacific region. For example, satellite-enabled network connectivity, in combination with WiMAX technology, recently provided a wireless broadband link to Ta Van, a village in mountainous northern Vietnam near the border with China. Satellite provided the backhaul connectivity to a WiMAX ‘hotspot’ that blanketed the entire village with wireless broadband Internet connectivity. This is but one example of the sort of critical network services that satellite is now enabling in the region. In addition, in many cases, satellite is often the only reliable platform that commercial and government entities within the region have available to transmit and receive vital communications. At the beginning of 2007, the Asia-Pacific region once again faced a situation where satellite-based communications proved to be of vital importance. When the Taiwan earthquake of late December 2006 severed six major undersea fibre optic cables disrupting telecommunications and data networks throughout the Asia-Pacific region, satellite technology was able to restore services - often within hours of the event - for many voice, video and data providers. Satellite networks restored traffic to customers in Asia and the Middle East through a diverse network services infrastructure. The task of restoring traffic delivery to the area depended primarily upon the teleports and six satellites serving the Asia-Pacific region. Specifically, satellite operations re-established international and intra-regional links for more than 20 telecommunications operators, broadcasters and network service providers. In one instance, the fastest restoration was four hours - from first call to on-air - for a South East Asian customer. Unfortunate events such as this earthquake spotlight the vital role that satellites play in providing backup to fibre-based networks. When satellite connections are an integrated part of a diverse telecommunications network, critical business continuity can be achieved for uninterrupted communications during emergencies. IPTV and mobile communications via satellite Although satellites played a reactive role at the beginning of the year, satellite technology continues to be proactive in establishing platforms for sought-after, on-demand services. The explosion of broadband in various high growth markets, such as Asia-Pacific, has spurred deployment of IPTV across the globe. In this region, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan are among the countries that continue to push the IPTV envelope, rolling out the next-generation services that are providing interactive applications for millions of subscribers. In fact, one of the most important aspects of satellite with respect to the IPTV market is that the technology provides a redundant and secure transmission platform for the delivery of TV content to the IPTV networks’ DSLAMS (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexers) that are being deployed in IPTV rollouts. Given the market potential of IPTV and the reliability that satellite brings to the transmission chain, many satellite operators, including us, have enhanced their IPTV offering solution to further support IPTV services. A ‘super headend’ for IPTV content distribution can offer a line-up of more than 200 video and audio channels in MPEG-4 IP format. Developed with open-standard technology, IPTV providers such as integrators, telcos, cable systems and programmers are able to choose from a selection of compliant conditional access systems, middleware and set-top boxes. Avail Media, who is a service distribution partner, provides turnkey solutions, including content rights, subscriber management, middleware and local integration. As a customer of the satellite platform, Avail Media is able to offer an enhanced IPTV solution to its customer base consisting of telecommunication operators, fibre-to-the-home providers and independent cable operators. Customers in other regions are already using this solution and it is poised for introduction to the Asia-Pacific market due to increased customer interest. With the advancements in satellite technology, particularly its network efficiency, data throughput and support for a diverse array of connectivity platforms, Asia-Pacific remains one of the more robust regions for IPTV solutions. While IPTV continues to mature, another innovation is gaining momentum within the global landscape and is garnering strong attention in the Asia-Pacific region - mobile communications. As one of the most high-traffic commercial shipping regions, on-demand maritime communications has become one of the most important service offerings. For example, a new maritime-specific C-band communications service called Network Broadband Global Maritime has entered the market place. This service offers an always-on system that provides vessels constant, high-speed IP access for converged voice, data and Internet applications on one platform. Basic packages of bi-directional 128 kbps and 256 kbps will initially be on offer with options available to extend upward to 2048 kbps to the vessel and 512 kbps back to shore. The system also provides maritime users with a global monitoring system that operates via VPN (virtual private network), relaying real time data and statistics. Industry demand for this type of IP based communication is going to increase in the maritime market, as a conduit to facilitate a greater flow of information throughout shipping organizations, and that will be a key factor in driving demand for broadband satellite connectivity at sea. The communications market in the Asia-Pacific region indeed is growing steadily. With all these application advancements underway, the region is poised to grow from next-generation satellite services and technologies. Satellite services available now will continue to accelerate IT connectivity to areas with poor communications and broadcast infrastructures in the near future. That is why Asia-Pacific is starting to reap the benefits of satellite-enabled services, both in terms of economic development and market advancement.

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