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Stepping up to the Ka-Band Challenge

Posted By Robert Bell, Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, December 14, 2010
In September, WTA published a white paper titled Ka-Band and the Teleport.  In it, we described one of the few opportunities that the new satellite band is likely to open for teleport operators – to become a gateway in the national or international networks of the Ka-band satellite operators.  

At the end of November, Ka-band operator O3b Networks announced that it had completed funding its business plan to put a network of MEO satellites into orbit to deliver vast amounts of IP bandwidth, which will be marketed through telephone companies in developing nations where the "other 3 billion" live.  But even before then – and before the publication of our report – one of our members had seized the initiative with 03b. 

On August 4, Europe Media Port (EMP) announced that it had been selected by 03b to be the first provider of gateway services for the new network through its Nemea Teleport in Greece.  03b will install a 7.3m antenna able to support the provision of up to 12 Gbps.  Dimitrios Papaharalabos, who heads sales and marketing at EMP, attributed the contract win to the company's high-quality facilities and robust fiber connectivity. 

Another member, Globecomm Systems in the US, won a contract in October to integrate the earth station network for Hughes' Jupiter Ka-band satellite, which will be launched into GEO orbit in 2012.  Though Globecomm is an international teleport operator, this job went to its systems integration division, because Hughes made the choice to own and operate its own ground infrastructure for the network. 

Expect more Ka-band ground segment announcements in the new year.  Despite the postponement of the Eutelsat Ka-Sat launch due to the Dec 5 Proton M launch failure, billions of dollars of Ka-band assets are heading skyward in the next two years.    The threats to existing lines of business are many and the opportunities still uncertain.  But there is no alternative to getting ready for the wave to break. 

Ka-Band and the Teleport is available free to WTA members and may be purchased by non-members for $995. 

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