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How will Ka-Band Impact the Business of Teleport Operators? More Than You May Think.

Posted By Robert Bell, Thursday, September 16, 2010
Updated: Thursday, September 16, 2010
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 site

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