High Throughput Satellite (HTS) technology, bringing higher throughput and lower transmission costs, has undoubtedly secured its position in the satellite industry’s future.
HTS has now emerged in all regions, be it using Ka- or Ku-band, and is targeting various applications: consumer/enterprise broadband, cellular backhaul, mobility and government. Even the most demanding markets, like oil and gas, which require high capacity and highly reliable services, are rapidly adopting HTS benefits: lower bandwidth costs, high capacity and smaller terminals.
HTS is truly a multiservice environment. The increased complexity of HTS spot beam networks demands the same infrastructure be used across multiple applications and markets to be served. This is certainly an aspect service providers have to take into account when deciding their approach to adding HTS-based services.
Effect on Managed Services and Business Models
HTS has significantly impacted the way services and infrastructures are managed for every player in the value chain. Business models for managed satellite services are also adapting to address individual customer needs operating in an HTS environment.
With the closed model, satellite operators have complete control over the entire service value chain – they provide wholesale service profiles to a reseller which does little value-add with the service before delivering it to end-customers. In some cases the satellite operator will even directly address the end-customer.
The primary objective here is to achieve the lowest possible cost of the satellite service. Through a vertically integrated infrastructure, a single entity fulfills the roles of satellite operator, as well as network operator. OPEX is minimized and the overall process streamlined.
One drawback is that service providers have few options to compete and differentiate in such a fully vertically integrated landscape.
The more traditional open model is generally used by traditional satellite operators and service providers. VSAT providers purchase bulk space – often in MHz – from satellite capacity providers to build their own platform and network.
It provides greater personalization and flexibility for endcustomers, as VSAT providers can deliver tailored services by packaging the space segment with different hubs and terminal equipment, creating a bespoke system.
Using the open model for HTS service deployments also brings challenges, though. Services using an HTS spot beam configuration require a higher infrastructure complexity compared to the traditional wide beam services and the initial investment required in RF and service platform can be a burden.
Consequently, the satellite services value chain has been adopting an additional level of innovation.
Managed Services as Virtual Network Operator (VNO)
Service providers will buy wholesale managed services, in Mbps, from the platform operator deploying and operating the network infrastructure.
Using the VNO capability of a service platform, service providers can define and productize their own tailored services towards the end-customers. There is no need to invest in the initial network infrastructure but it still provides a significant level of independence. At the same time the platform operator can share its network investments over multiple service providers addressing various markets.
A New Hybrid Offering: MHz and Infrastructure Package
A new offering emerging is the “semi-open” platform which allows service providers to buy wholesale space (MHz) from the satellite operator and have access to the needed network infrastructure.
This allows service providers to operate their own services fully independently without the need for upfront investment in platforms and RF infrastructure.
Here, service providers benefit from full operational flexibility and independence as they run their own network, maximizing competitor differentiation but also bringing a reduced CAPEX to start the services.
Broadcast Managed Services
Media companies are under pressure to deliver content in new ways to multiple devices and in different formats. To do so, though, is incredibly complex and potentially costly. Additionally, workflow management is becoming more complex and ever shorter time frames to deliver live coverage are being set. This is where a next-generation, fully automated and converged-IP multiservice broadcast solution comes into play, allowing multiple content transmissions, including linear video, file transfer, VoIP, Internet access and data exchange, via one platform. Seamless implementation of digital media networking using legacy assets, improved bandwidth management with minimal investment and simplified content delivery and operational network is also enabled.
Opportunities for service providers to expand their media services offering are also created. The hub can be expanded with equipment dedicated to typical broadcast workflows, for example, high-speed modems and codecs, an umbrella management monitoring and control system and specific tools to optimize satellite bandwidth and session management, as well as file exchange.
What Does the Future Hold for Managed Services and Managed Capacity?
Essentially, future-proof technology is needed to ensure HTS continues to function to its utmost potential. Newtec Dialog is an example of this and as demand for HTS continues to grow, we remain committed to developing and applying future-proof technologies that deliver unsurpassed performance, efficiency, flexibility and scalability, all the way through the chain from the satellite operator to the end-customer for various applications and markets.
I hope you enjoyed the read! Leave your comments in below's box.
Jo De Loor
Market Director for Multiservice, HTS and Enterprise at Newtec
This article was published in Newtec's Company Newsletter September 2015 issue, "Newtec News".
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