Ask most teleport
operators about the new generation of Ka-band satellites that began lifting
into orbit in 2005, and they will tell you it has little to do with them. The satellites are intended for broadband
Internet access by consumers and small office/home office (SOHO) users, and
serving them has never been part of the teleport business model.
But dig a little deeper
into the topic, and teleport operators can find much to concern them. The savviest among them are keeping a sharp
eye on the evolution of this new capability – because its impact on the
satellite service provider may range from mild to severe.
WTA has just published a
white paper, Ka-Band and the Teleport,
which explores the possible development paths of Ka-band services and how they
may impact what teleport operators do every day. It is based on interviews with executives of
the new Ka-band operators, teleport operators and technology companies.
More than $5 billion of
Ka-band investment will be in orbit by 2014, offering vastly more bandwidth
than the entire GEO arc does today. The
white paper argues that it has the potential to create a revolution in satellite
services, containing severe threats as well as potential opportunities for the
existing players in the market.
Depending on how the business plans of the Ka-band operators work out,
the impact could be fairly narrow. By
narrow, I mean the extinguishing of much of the IP trunking and VSAT business
over a matter of only a few years.
(Doesn’t sound all that mild, does it?)
But Ka-band could
eventually wind up becoming the default satellite technology, just as the
broadband pipe into your home is rapidly becoming the default channel for data,
voice and video today. Then, how the
Ka-band business develops will matter a lot to the rest of the market.
All forecasts of future threats and
opportunities need to be taken with several grains of salt. But teleport operators need to be aware and
to be prepared for the future. I
encourage all WTA members to log in and download a copy of Ka-Band and the Teleport
for free in the Research section of this