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INSIDE DOOH via satellite Cost-effective digital signage solutions

In touch in-flight

Outlook on 2012 Handy advice from industry veteran David Hershberg

Airlines queuing for on-board connectivity



Welcome When the pilot informed us that Germany had defeated Argentina 4-0, the aircraft erupted in a collective groan and some scattered applause. We were left to imagine the look of despair on Messi’s face, the melodrama that Maradona must have unleashed and to wonder as to what would happen to the World Cup with another South American side biting the proverbial dust. Now, with live TV to debut on some airlines, connectivity fundamentally leap-frogs several stages, 39,000 feet above ground level. And not surprisingly, the full service carriers in the MENA such as Gulf Air and Emirates, among others, are showing the way. In-flight connectivity is much more than witnessing, live, Andres Iniesta’s goal in the Soccer World Cup final. From the pilot accessing real-time weather information, to the cabin staff having access to telemedicine in case of emergencies, you would have to wonder how you lived without connectivity on-board an airline. It was a pity when Virgin’s Richard Branson launched in-flight connectivity and the press seemed centered around the issue of decibel levels. The fascinating logistics and technology behind in-flight connectivity must warrant some attention. We speak to end-users, service providers and satellite operators. With equipment that has passed rigorous aviation safety standards, and with seamless coverage provided by satellite operators and Telcos on the ground, in-flight connectivity is no longer seen as a luxury. This is a developing story, as more airlines approach service providers and satellite operators innovate to offer speeds on-board that are as good as those on the ground. We will keep you posted as you, in turn, help us stay informed at

Supriya Srinivas Deputy Editor SatellitePro Middle East

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January 2012 | SatellitePro | 1

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Issue 3 | January 2012



Forging new partnerships News updates from Arabsat, YahSat, Harris Caprock, World Teleport Association and more



New technology and products Innovations from Comtech, Viasat, Astrium and more

Cover story


Always connected As in-flight connectivity takes off, we give you an overview of the technology and players



SatResearch: Digital signage White paper on benefits of satellite-based technology to drive digital signage solutions

24 SatTechnology: IP over satellite Simen Frostad of Bridge Technologies outlines the potential of reaching beyond the cable infrastructure with IP over satellite

28 SatInterview: David Hershberg In conversation with the industry veteran and CEO of Globecomm

32 SatTrends: Ka-Band Serge Van Herck, CEO, Newtec says Ka-Band will transform business in the satellite industry

34 SatEvents: CABSAT SatellitePro partners with the GVF Forum at CABSAT

40 SatGuest In conversation with Payam Herischi, COO, Emerging Markets Communications (EMC)

ON THE COVER: Image supplied by OnAir

January 2012 | SatellitePro | 3


Jordan Media Hermes Datacomms ME partners offers services in Kurdistan City with YahLive Hermes Datacomms Middle East, a specialist providing Wide Area Network communications to the upstream oil and gas industry has registered with the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Natural Resources, allowing them to provide ICT solutions to oil and gas companies in Kurdistan. At the opening of the KurdistanIraq Oil & Gas Conference held recently in Kurdistan’s capital city of Erbil, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s prime minister Dr. Barham Salih stated that they have reached an agreement with the central government to increase the region’s oil export volume to 175,000 barrels per day in 2012. Kevin Thorley, CEO of Hermes Datacomms ME states, “As a principal

Kevin Thorley, CEO, Hermes Datacomms

global VSAT service provider, it is of the utmost importance that we effectively establish operations in the region ahead of this impending boom.” Chris Beevers, Hermes Datacomms business development manager for Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman will head operations in Kurdistan.

Since December 1, 2011, Jordan Media City “JMC” has uplinked six HD sport channels from Saudi Television to the YahLive satellite at 52.5E to cover Europe. It is expected that another stream of six HD Arabic channels will also be uplinked to the YahLive satellite in the near future, according to a JMC spokesman. In 2010, the UAE-based satellite broadcasting venture YahLive signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Jordan Media City, the regional media hub based in Amman, Jordan, to define potential areas of collaboration on projects and services related to satellite broadcast. The areas of partnership include providing up-link services to satellites, play-out capabilities, and other services.

Optimal Satcom awarded multi-year contract with Harris CapRock Optimal Satcom has been awarded a multi-year contract by Harris CapRock to provide a company-wide capacity management system based on Optimal Satcom’s Enterprise Capacity Manager (ECM) and Complan products. As part of the agreement, Optimal Satcom is working with Harris CapRock to consolidate its legacy capacity management systems into a single integrated system. This system will simultaneously meet the needs of Harris CapRock’s energy, maritime and government market verticals achieving operational 4 | SatellitePro | January 2012

Ahsun Murad, president, Optimal Satcom

efficiency and cost savings through better utilisation of its leased satellite capacity. The new system will be

deployed at Harris CapRock’s offices worldwide. Ahsun H. Murad, president and CEO of Optimal Satcom said: “A consolidation at this scale represents significant logistical and operational challenges. We have worked closely with each of the legacy companies for many years and understand their businesses well.” Andrew Lucas, global operations officer, Harris CapRock said, “Harris CapRock required the flexibility to financially and technically manage substantial space segment assets using a single platform.”

4 BGAN links TSF in Libya The work of Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) in Libya during 2011 was enabled with the use of BGAN and IsatPhone Pro. In the early months, the focus of TSF’s efforts was on the thousands of refugees pouring over the border into Tunisia. Like other aid agencies, Inmarsat-sponsored TSF joined forces with the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department (Echo), the UN Humanitarian Commissioner for Relief, and the Tunisian Civil Defence organisation to help refugees arriving at the Chucha transit camp near Ben Guerdane. IsatPhone Pro proved vital as the refugee transit camp swelled with a large proportion of the estimated 200,000 people who crossed the border in the early months of the conflict. During spring and early summer, TSF enabled a total of 40,000 humanitarian calls to be made to 115 destinations worldwide for a total of 91,500 minutes. By the end of TSF’s

mission in November IsatPhone Pro had been extensively used inside Libya supporting humanitarian needs – in Benghazi, Misrata and Sirte. As the Libyan regime retreated, TSF supported a number of relief agencies. This time a total of 17 IsatPhone Pros were deployed. The Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (Acted) has been working with Unicef in Libya to help restore schools and key infrastructure. TSF supplied 4GB of data via BGAN to help Acted carry out assessments for its relief work in Sirte. Support for Acted was brought about as a result of TSF’s ongoing work with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Abu Dhabi’s Al Jaber Aviation partners with Satcom1 Al Jaber (AJ) Aviation is to be the launch customer for Satcom1’s Flight Billing solution with Inmarsat connectivity. The executive charter operator, based in Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi, operates a fleet of Embraer Lineage 1000 and Legacy 600 aircraft, plus an Airbus A318 Elite+. Satcom1’s Flight Billing

allows AJ Aviation to sell prepaid cards with specific data amounts (such as 100 megabytes) using Inmarsat SwiftBroadband on its aircraft. Mark Pierotti, AJ Aviation’s COO, said: “Our aim is to enhance the service we offer our customers. We want to make it easier for them to buy and use satellite data.”

Estimated viewers for London 2012 Olympics

Thuraya to offer Twitter services by SMS

Tarek Shqairat, director-intercarrier relations, Thuraya

Thuraya, the mobile satellite operator is the first in the mobile satellite industry to launch SMSbased Twitter services for its handheld consumer base. This unique service will enable voice consumers to send and receive Tweets via SMS wherever they may be located within Thuraya’s 140-country coverage area to and from their handheld devices. Using the short dedicated SMS code of 1888, users can sign up for Twitter or link their Thuraya phones with their Twitter accounts or visit the Twitter website for more information. “Through this feature, Thuraya consumers can consistently feel that they are part of the modern era and social networking community which we know is a main driver of our times,” said Thuraya’s director-intercarrier relations, Tarek Shqairat. January 2012 | SatellitePro | 5


Arabsat-2B telecom network transferred to new satellite Arabsat, the Middle Eastbased satellite operator has executed its plans to transfer its telecommunications network services from Arabsat-2B satellite to its new Arabsat-5C satellite at 20 degrees East. The new satellite carries telecommunications networks across the Arab States and the African continent and private networks operating at Kaband in addition to Direct-To-Home bouquets transmitted in C-band to the African continent. The New Arabsat-5C satellite is considered the third in Arabsat’s fifth generation satellites series, launched over the past two years to support the company’s edge in the satellite telecommunications market. Arabsat’s fourth and fifth generation satellites, that have been launched since 2006, were joined by the latest satellite of the fifth generation with the

purpose of forming an integrated fleet of satellites operating at Arabsat’s orbital positions of 20, 26 and 30.5 degrees East. The satellites provide a range of services, at different bandwidths and areas of coverage, offering connectivity to corporates, organisations and governments across the Middle East, Africa, neighbouring countries in Asia and

large parts of Europe. It was also reported that the investment, in excess of US$1.6 billion, towards the manufacturing and operating of its new fleet of satellites, was sourced mainly from Arabsat’s revenues. Plans are currently under way to manufacture and launch Arabsat’s sixth generation satellites in the coming years.

AsiaSat 4 adds three Indian channels Asia’s leading satellite operator Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (AsiaSat) announced that Pride East Entertainments (Pvt.) Ltd. of India has signed an agreement for C-band capacity on AsiaSat 4 to deliver three Indian free-to-air satellite channels serving audiences in the North Eastern region of India and across the country. NEWS LIVE is a 24-hour news and current affairs satellite channel broadcasting in Assamese and English languages. 6 | SatellitePro | January 2012

William Wade, president and CEO of AsiaSat

RANG offers Assamese, Hindi and English language entertainment programmes, whereas RAMDHENU, a new satellite channel, broadcasts music and lifestyle programming in Assamese, Hindi and English languages. “AsiaSat welcomes Pride East Entertainments to AsiaSat’s South Asian channel neighbourhood. We are pleased that Pride East appreciates our flexible, reliable and excellent coverage and customer service,” said William Wade,president and CEO of AsiaSat.

72 SES to increase sales focus on emerging markets SES plans to further increase the focus on emerging and growth markets and introduce four global sales regions with a dedicated management leading the SES teams in each region. The regions are: Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia-Pacific/ India/ Middle East. They will be headed by Elias Zaccack (Americas), Ferenc Szelényi (Europe), Ibrahima Guimba-Saidou (Africa), and Deepak Mathur (Asia Pacific/ India/ Middle East). All four executives report to the CCO, Ferdinand Kayser. Ibrahima Guimba-Saidou is joining SES from Intelsat where he was senior key account director and had different sales and marketing as well as systems operations roles over more than 15 years. His roles included the responsibility for the Intelsat representation in Africa. In his new role, he will be based in Johannesburg. Deepak Mathur has successfully

Romain Bausch, president and CEO of SES

developed the activities of SES in Asia and Africa over the past ten years. He remains based in Singapore. “This organisation and these nominations are another step on our way to consolidate our strong position in Europe and North America while focusing our attention on the emerging markets, where a lot of the future growth for SES is coming from”, says Romain Bausch, president and CEO of SES.

Lufthansa launches in-flight broadband connectivity in the UAE Lufthansa passengers from Dubai and Abu Dhabi will now be connected while in-flight via the airline’s FlyNet – the broadband internet connection on-board between Abu Dhabi and Frankfurt and between Dubai, Frankfurt and Munich. FlyNet was introduced almost a year ago on select North Atlantic routes and is now available in the Middle East and Iran. Currently, 43 of Lufthansa’s longrange aircraft now have FlyNet and the carrier expects to equip the entire long-haul fleet by end-2012.

“We are excited to roll out our top-tier in-flight internet service in recognition of the need of our passengers to stay in constant touch. Email accessibility is important, particularly for business travellers, and is appreciated by leisure travellers too,” said Peter Pollak, Lufthansa’s general manager UAE and Director Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq. Lufthansa offers the service in cooperation with its partners Panasonic Avionics Corporation and Deutsche Telekom.

Value of MilSatCom revenues by 2020

Yahsat receives leadership award in defence

Al Yah Satellite Communications Company PrJSC (Yahsat) has won the 2011 Frost & Sullivan Award for its services in the Middle East defence sector. Yahsat is the first company in the region to earn the award, for its service “YahSecure”, which provides secured and reliable satellite communications service on Ka band, which is suitable for military, government, and mission critical applications. Eng. Rashed Al Ghafri, YahService GM, said: “We are honoured to receive this prestigious award, which recognises our service that has enabled us to quickly become a pioneering company in the military satellite communications market.” In April 2011, Yahsat’s satellite Y1A was successfully delivered in orbit and is providing satellite communications services for both governmental and commercial customers across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and South West Asia. The company’s second satellite, Y1B, is currently in the final integration phase in France and will be launched in Q1 of 2012. January 2012 | SatellitePro | 7

Welcome to


Home of 90% of Free-To-Air HD-TV channels in the MENA region 30+ HDTV channels in the MENA region are now exclusively broadcast on Arabsat Badr satellites at the 26ยบ East hotspot. Indeed, with the new generation of Arabsat satellites, the largest Arab community in the sky brings you more and more power to experience the future. Join us!


Portal of the Middle East


Top teleport operators of 2011 World Teleport Association (WTA) announced its rankings of the Top Teleport Operators of 2011. The annual ranking offers a unique look into the diverse teleport sector of the global communications industry For the first time in the history of the rankings by the World Teleport Association (WTA), the teleport operators reported their total spending on satellite capacity. The total spending of the world’s top 20 independent operators was nearly US$1 billion per year on transponder leasing, equal on average to 45% of their revenues. The association’s top operator rankings are compiled by surveying teleport operators around the world on their facilities, services and business results. These rankings provide an insight into the sometimes less glamorous realities of the teleport sector. Rankings were reported in three categories: the Independent Top Twenty, the Global Top Twenty, and what the association calls the “Fast Twenty.”

Hill Earth station, Encompass Digital Media, Europe Media Port, and NewSat.

The independent top twenty The ‘Independent Top Twenty’ ranks teleport operators based on revenue from all sources. The list focuses on the independent operators at the core of the businesss, excluding companies whose primary business is ownership and operation of a satellite fleet or terrestrial network. In 2011, four new operators joined the list – Cobbett

The global top twenty This category ranks companies based on revenues from all customised communications’ sources and includes operators of teleports, satellite fleets and business-to-business fibre networks. Three companies make their debut on the global top twenty list in 2011 – du, Encompass Digital Media and GE Satcom.

10 | SatellitePro | January 2012

The ‘Fast Twenty’ The Fast Twenty ranks all teleportoperating companies based on yearover-year revenue growth in their most recent fiscal years. Newcomer Santander Teleport was the fastest of the fast with an impressive 531% growth – the kind of growth that only a startup company can generate in its first few years. Also new to the list are Encompass Digital Media, NewSat and SES. Unique insight into teleport sector “This year the top operators’ survey has an interesting story

927 to tell,” said Robert Bell, WTA’s executive director. “The ‘Global Top Twenty’ had a combined revenue of $12.85 billion, while the ‘Independent Top Twenty’ had combined revenues of $2.15 billion. In the 2011 survey, respondents reported on their total spending on satellite capacity in the most recent, complete fiscal year. The independent operators spent $927 million on satellite capacity, which represented 45% on average of their total revenues. In addition, companies with less than $25 million in total revenues

Satellite capacity spend by independent teleport operators

The total spending of the world’s top 20 independent operators was nearly US$1 billion per year on transponder leasing, equal on average to 45% of their revenues

Robert Bell, executive director, World Teleport Association

spent an average of 54% of their total revenues on satellite

capacity. It’s interesting to note that capacity spending as a percentage of revenues varied widely – from a high of 70% to a low of 17% – depending on the teleport operator’s type of business.” PRO

Independent Top Twenty

Global Top Twenty

Fast Twenty

1. Harris CapRock (USA) 2. GlobeCast (France) 3. Arqiva Broadcast & Media (UK) 4. Globecomm Systems (USA) 5. RRsat Global Communications (Israel) 6. Encompass Digital Media (USA) 7. TeleCommunications Systems (Government Services) (USA) 8. GE Satcom (Germany) 9. du (UAE) 10. Teleport Internacional Buenos Aires (Argentina) 11. Satlink Communications (Israel) 12. Essel Shyam Communciations (India) 13. NewSat (Australia) 14. Newcom International (USA) 15. Central Europe Telecom Services (Germany) 16. CET Teleport (Germany) 17. Jordan Media City (Jordan) 18. ATCi (USA) 19. Cobbett Hill Earth Station (UK) 20. Europe Media Port (Cyprus)

1. Intelsat (Bermuda) 2. SES (Luxembourg) 3. Eutelsat (France) 4. Telenor Satellite Broadcasting (Norway) 5. Hughes Network Systems (USA) 6. Telesat (Canada) 7. Harris CapRock (USA) 8. EchoStar Satellite Services Corp. (USA) 9. GlobeCast (France) 10. Arqiva Broadcast & Media (UK) 11. Thaicom (Thailand) 12. Hispasat (Spain) 13. Globecomm Systems (USA) 14. AsiaSat (China) 15. RRsat Global Communications (Israel) 16. Encompass Digital Media (USA) 17. TeleCommunications Systems (Government Services) (USA) 18. Gazprom Space Systems (Russia) 19. GE Satcom (Germany) 20. du (UAE)

1. Santander Teleport (Spain) 2. Encompass Digital Media (USA) 3. Europe Media Port (Cyrpus) 4. TeleCommunications Systems (Government Services) (USA) 5. Cobbett Hill Earth Station (UK) 6. Globecomm Systems (USA) 7. Newcom International (USA) 8. EchoStar Satellite Services Corp. (USA) 9. AsiaSat (China) 10. Teleport Internacional Buenos Aires (Argentina) 11. NewSat (Australia) 12. CET Teleport (Germany) 13. Jordan Media City (Jordan) 14. Eutelsat (France) 15. Essel Shyam Communciations (India) 16. Hispasat (Spain) 17. du (UAE) 18. RRsat Global Communications (Israel) 19. SES (Luxembourg) 20. Harris CapRock (USA)

January 2012 | SatellitePro | 11


Agreement to enhance maritime communication Comtech EF Data Corporation and Thrane & Thrane announced the successful completion of interoperability testing of the SAILOR 900 VSAT marine stabilised antenna systems and the ROSS Open Antenna Management (ROAM) protocol. The interoperability will enable the SAILOR 900 VSAT antenna systems on maritime vessels to globally roam across multiple satellite beams, maintaining connectivity, moving through different satellite footprints and enhancing communication capabilities at sea. The ROAM protocol offers a common management interface for Comtech EF Data’s Roaming Oceanic Satellite Server (ROSS) and third-party Antenna Control Units

Reynald Seznec, president and CEO of Thales Alenia Space

(ACUs) by providing a generic set of commands, information, interfaces and status queries. ROSS is an integrated location server that works in conjunction with Comtech EF Data’s Vipersat Management System to facilitate on-the-move satellite communications for oceanic vessels.

Numerex upgrades satellitebased asset monitoring solution Numerex Corp, a provider of secure machine-to-machine (M2M) products and services, announced its new satellite-based end-to-end remote asset monitoring solution, which enables Value Added Resellers (VARs) to provide secure, configurable asset visibility to their customers seeking to monitor liquid tanks and doors. The full solution includes the lightweight yet rugged Numerex Satellite FLEX tracking device, the wireless Numerex FLEX SNSR interface which can be connected to a broad range of asset sensors, and the Numerex FASTrack 12 | SatellitePro | January 2012

Pleiades 1A in orbit

application which makes sense of the captured data. Remote monitoring of liquid tank levels can significantly reduce operational expenses by optimising fleet dispatch as well as identifying leaks or pilferage. Global visibility to door open/close events helps ensure driver and asset safety and also reduces cargo shrinkage. For many installations, Numerex’s solution enables exterior mounting of the satellite transmitter and internal mounting of a magnetic door sensor for a no-drilling solution.

Pleiades 1A, the first new-generation observation satellite operated by French space agency CNES was orbited by Arianespace on-board a Soyuz launcher from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana. Thales Alenia Space, working for industrial prime contractor Astrium, was responsible for 45% of this satellite. The Pleiades satellites are dedicated to dual (military/civil) observation applications. They feature an optical instrument with an aperture of 65 cm, built by Thales Alenia Space, and providing multispectral views in the visible and near-infrared bands, with very high resolution (70 cm) and a swath width of 20 km. In addition to the optical payload for Pleiades satellites, Thales Alenia Space also supplied the encryption/ decryption module for the uplinks and downlinks. “With this major contribution to Pleiades, Thales Alenia Space is proud of once again being able to contribute our expertise in optical imaging systems to CNES and Astrium,” said Reynald Seznec, president and CEO of Thales Alenia Space.

27 Airborne broadband satcom performance at 8 Mbps via 12-inch Viasat demonstrated a mobile broadband system using an ultrasmall aperture 12-inch Ka-band tracking antenna. The network includes the ViaSat VR-12 Ka airborne satellite antenna and ArcLight 2 modem mounted to a mobile vehicle. As the mobile vehicle drove around, the tracking antenna maintained its link with the satellite while demonstrating simultaneous encrypted HD video backhaul, video conferencing, IP phone communications, and web browsing. In the course of the demonstration the mobile satellite network was configured in a number of different modes showing a variety of forward link and return link bit rates. Configurations included ISR (Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance) operations in

Astrium completes acquisition of Vizada

Larry Taylor, deputy GM, ViaSat Global Mobile Broadband

which the forward link maintained at 4 Mbps and the return link performed at 6 Mbps. “Achieving this level of satellite system performance in such a small physical package is another important milestone for us and especially for our broadband ISR customers,” said Larry Taylor, deputy GM, ViaSat Global Mobile Broadband.

VSAT services for Iraq-based offices of Nabors Industries Harris CapRock Communications has signed a two-year contract to provide Nabors Industries with satellite communications for multiple land rigs and a base office in Iraq. Harris CapRock’s Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) services will provide Nabors personnel working on remote Iraq land drilling sites the ability to interconnect with the local base office and corporate headquarters. “We have worked with Nabors since 2004 on short-term drilling opportunities, and have provided

Value of satellite video services by the year 2020

Tom Eaton, president, Harris CapRock

services to other customers with Iraq activities since 2003,” said Tom Eaton, president, Harris CapRock.

Eric Béranger, CEO of Astrium Services

Astrium Services and Vizada team up to become one of the world’s largest providers of satellite communications and geo-information services. Astrium, Europe’s leading space company, completes the acquisition of Vizada after receiving the necessary regulatory approvals. Vizada is an independent provider of global satellite communications services and will be integrated into Astrium Services. This acquisition represents a total consideration of € 673 million and contributes to EADS’ strategic Vision 2020. According to Eric Béranger, CEO of Astrium Services: “Together, we now provide our customers and partners with the broadest range of product and service choices – from fixed to mobile services, and from government to civil and private customers.” With over 3,200 employees now, Astrium Services will be composed of four business lines: Telecom Commercial, Telecom Governmental, Secure Satcom Systems, and GEOInformation Services. January 2012 | SatellitePro | 13

Cover story

Always connected A universal hunger for staying connected at all times, is driving innovation in on-board connectivity, as satellite operators and service providers come up with affordable solutions. Airlines are queuing up knowing passengers will expect high-levels of connectivity as the norm

14 | SatellitePro | January 2012

Images courtesy: OnAir

In-flight entertainment (IFE) now has a ‘C’ that could stand for communications or connectivity. In the couple of years that airlines have deployed IFEC solutions, passengers have not complained. Ian Dawkins CEO of OnAir, an in-flight connectivity provider, commenting on feedback for his service says: “Our experience is that passengers making voice-calls during flight are courteous to other passengers and in fact due to the ambient noise within an aircraft cabin you’re really not overheard whilst making calls.”

With more than a dozen airlines as clients, Ian Dawkins has an insight or two about in-flight connectivity. However, courteous passengers or not, the prospect of having silence zones on planes is increasingly sounding realistic as more airlines retrofit or linefit their fleet with the latest in on-board connectivity. GCC-based airlines showing the way Over the past couple of years, Oman Air, Gulf Air, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways have opted for in-flight connectivity of varying

degrees. Commenting on the trend, Dawkins says, “Middle East airlines are often pioneers in cabin services, which has meant they have been early adopters of new technology, including in-flight connectivity. In itself, this has driven demand for more airlines in the region to adopt the service. In addition, many Middle East airlines have recently updated their fleets, providing the opportunity to linefit the relevant equipment.” Taking in-flight connectivity to a whole new level, in 2011, Gulf Air, the national carrier of Bahrain, took January 2012 | SatellitePro | 15

Cover story delivery of its first A330-200 aircraft retrofitted with Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s Global Communications Suite that offers passengers on-board broadband connectivity to access internet, mobile phone services and a global, live television service onboard.The carrier signed up for the Ku-band satellite-based solution for its entire fleet. SatellitePro asked Gulf Air CEO, Samer Al Majali, about the technical and logistical challenges of a retrofit. He said: “Bearing in mind that Gulf Air was the first airline in the world to offer full on-board connectivity in October 2011 – delivering broadband internet access, GSM phone service and live television content using Panasonic’s Global Communications Suite – we did face some technical and logistical challenges, but these have been fixed since. “The first aircraft we retrofitted was challenging simply in that it was the first retrofit of any kind! Gulf Air, Panasonic and other vendors worked closely to test and implement each stage of the retrofitting process.” Just a year ago, Dawkins of OnAir, had to convince airlines about the importance of in-flight connectivity. Today, the airlines are approaching him underlining the seismic shift in airlines’ policy towards in-flight connectivity. Clearly a differentiator, passengers reportedly select airlines based on the connectivity they offer prompting this rapid change of heart among airlines. The Swiss-based company and a joint venture by Airbus/SITA, OnAir, has completed its first full year of availability for its GSM-service (voice, SMS and mobile data) and in-flight internet access. Crucial partnerships among 16 | SatellitePro | January 2012

Samer Al Majali, CEO, Gulf Air

passengers is largely dependent on geographical reach and in respect of which OnAir’s expertise in regulatory affairs has secured authorisations from 77 national aviation and telecommunications authorities. Moreover, OnAir has concluded roaming agreements with mobile phone operators covering 2.2 billion GSM users, around two thirds of the total GSM users in the world. That means we can cover 95% of flight times on our customers’ routes.” For in-flight connectivity to be possible, it is necessary to locate

“Our system is upgradable. It can be modified to handle future services and faster transmission speeds” service providers Partnership with Inmarsat has been crucial as OnAir CEO Ian Dawkins embarked on his plan to offer inflight connectivity. He says: “OnAir has been working with Inmarsat for many years, and indeed was the first SwiftBroadband Distribution Partner. We are also one of only two distribution partners for Global Xpress, Inmarsat’s Ka-band solution, which will be launched in 2013. One of the key reasons for working with Inmarsat is because SwiftBroadband – and Global Xpress will be the same – provides a consistent and the only global service. That means passengers have the same services wherever they are in the world.” Giving us an insight into what must be a complex and layered set of relationships, Dawkins says, “Aside from the satellite link, we need roaming agreements with as many mobile phone network operators as possible, as well as regulatory authorisations to operate our services in countries’ airspace. Seamless connections for

both Wi-Fi access points and cellphone picocell base-stations on board the aircraft. The backhaul can then be provided by a satellite link. With a reported 11,000 aircraft relying on global in-flight connectivity from Inmarsat, the mobile satellite services provider is one of the most widely used operators in this sector. With SwiftBroadband, Inmarsat’s flexible IP connectivity, high-quality voice and data communications is delivered through a single antenna to the whole aircraft, servicing cockpit, cabin and operational applications. For Inmarsat, the growth in the sector has been nothing short of astounding. “From a relatively small three per cent in 2006, this sector has grown to 13% in terms of revenue for Inmarsat,” revealed Helene Bazzi, head of regional development, EMEA. She added: “It is one of the fastest growing sectors for Inmarsat. On our part, we ensure global coverage with Inmarsat’s three global

12k constellations of 11 satellites flying in geosynchronous orbit 37,786 kms (22,240 statute miles) above the Earth.” From offering the crew real-time weather reports, engine monitoring capabilities and access to passenger databases, among other benefits, airlines can fine-tune customer care including accessing vital telemedicine in case of a medical emergency. And it all takes a fraction of a second as the GSM signals from a passenger’s GSM cellphone for instance, are transcoded using Internet Protocol – these IP packets are sent from the plane to the ground via satellite and then turned back to GSM signals and sent to the public network. The two key drives of innovation are bandwidth access and affordability. With more than 35% of the cost of air tickets being accounted for by fuel, weight is a key issue. The hardware for OnAir’s service for instance weighs little more than 75 kilograms. On the question of affordability, Gulf Air’s Majali says: “Our IFE service is extremely affordable. Dividing our comprehensive IFE offering, the live TV element is free of charge in addition to the vast range of movies, music, games etc. that are already part of the in-flight system on-board we offer. The other two elements, internet and telephony, will attract normal international roaming charges as charged by service providers with whom we have made agreements. The charges will appear on telephone bills as if they were roaming charges. The airplane is like a virtual country, so the charges will be in-line with international roaming. For the internet, the charging scheme is somewhere in the region

Aircraft with in-flight connectivity over 2010 - 2020

“As more and more airlines provide passenger connectivity, and do so on a fleet-wide basis, the prices have been coming down, since this is a volume business. New satellite technology has also enabled lower pricing” Ian Dawkins, CEO, OnAir

of $15 for one hour, and less than $30 for 24-hour unlimited usage.” Dawkins concurs, saying that voice calls are priced at no more than standard international roaming rates with billing directly through the customer’s own cellphone provider that is becoming a key service differentiator for carriers looking for new ways to attract and retain highyield passengers. Smoothness of service According to OnAir, the performance of the service generally has been very reliable in the first year. There have been a few teething problems involving interfaces with

the satellite communication or in-flight entertainment systems, as has often been the case with new cabin systems. What should be music to the ears of satellite operators is that the twin issues of interference and latency are not hampering connectivity, says Majali. “Passenger usage and feedback thus far has been very promising with Gulf Air passengers embracing our in-flight entertainment’s ease of use and flexibility. Live TV has been the most popular option thus far and in terms of interference and latency we can confidently say that all our transmission is smooth, with no delay.”

January 2012 | SatellitePro | 17

Cover story Economies of scale Tackling the delicate topic of pricing and the impact on satellite operators, Dawkins says, “As is the case when purchasing anything, the more you buy, the better the deal. However, the converse is also true and since the commercial air transport market is a relatively small one for the satellite providers, the airlines that have been early adopters have been working with OnAir and Inmarsat to develop the right passenger pricing models. They have been happy to do so, because passenger connectivity has been a differentiator, enabling them to take market share. “As more and more airlines provide passenger connectivity, and do so on a fleet-wide basis, the prices have been coming down, since this is a volume business. New satellite technology has also enabled lower pricing across both SwitftBroadband (SBB) and Global Xpress (GX).” The Ka-Band promise Shopping for in-flight connectivity solutions has not been easy for airlines, given the questions raised about the sustainability of the technology over the longterm. Majali of Gulf Air says: “We are one of the first airlines in the world to offer live TV over the land and international waters using Ku-band satellite technology, and to offer this range of services (telephony, broadband and live TV) across continents on a global basis. In addition, our system is upgradable. It can be modified to handle future services and faster transmission speeds.” OnAir is offering passengers voice, email, text services and internet access, on flights 18 | SatellitePro | January 2012

Helene Bazzi, head of regional development, EMEA

available ‘out-of-the-box’ – from one service provider – as Inmarsat will provide a simple global network of L-band (SBB) and Ka-band satellites. In a comment to the press, he says: “If airlines want to upgrade hardware ‘early’, it can be installed in advance on an aircraft during build (or retrofit) and then go ‘live’ on day one of the Ka-band satellite operation.” It is Dawkins’ belief that there will be an ongoing market for L-band services for at least the next three to five years as currently only about 10% of L-band capacity is being

“From a relatively small 3% in 2006, this sector has grown to 13% in terms of revenue. This is one of the fastest growing sectors for Inmarsat” across four continents by using SwiftBroadband Inmarsat L-band technology. To be launched in 2013, Inmarsat’s Global Xpress - the Kaband broadband network will offer downlink speeds of up to 50Mbps. A major question hovering over the connectivity juggernaut for airlines that have not yet committed is whether to choose L-band, Kuband, or Ka-band. Ka-band, according to expert opinion, presents challenges including signal deterioration in heavy rain when compared with transmissions in the more traditional C-, Ku- and L-band frequencies. But it has the advantage of being much less used than the other frequencies, permitting operators to design satellites with throughputs that are many times what conventional satellites can offer. On the issue of Ka-band services, Dawkins is quoted as saying that Ka-band/L-band swapping during flight will be

used. OnAir’s market research from a first full year of operations, which ended in April 2011, indicated that consumer use of the connectivity available mirrors that of smart phone roaming use on the ground, in that they are generally not downloading large amounts of data to access, for example, video streaming. The hesitation demonstrated by some airlines to invest in an in-flight solution today as they wait for something with still higher bandwidth and potentially lower costs, is understandable but misplaced. Given the growing need for connectivity among passengers of all classes, these airlines will risk a drop in market share and customer satisfaction by not deploying an in-flight broadband solution while their rivals do. In the delicate balance between broadband technology, cost and sustainability, airlines have to join the in-flight bandwagon sooner rather than later. PRO


Satellite technology powers digital signage The advantage of satellite technology to transmit large amounts of high quality content to a number of locations, securely, reliably and cost-effectively, makes it the superior alternative to traditional telecommunications providers, write Paul Prosser and Merv Kuek of Newsat Ltd If you find your digitally connected signage is limited by a conventional telecommunications provider, who often distributes information via traditional means such as cable, satellite technology may be the solution you are looking for. When used in conjunction with terrestrial networks for traditional IT functions and user collaboration, satellitebased digital signage capability also provides the ideal disaster recovery solution, for protection against terrestrial connection failure caused by human error or 20 | SatellitePro | January 2012

natural disasters. Mode of distribution is key Digitally connected signage, also known as digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising, is a method of communicating to potential customers whilst they are “out and about�. Digitally connected signage enables companies to communicate with customers through targeted up-to-date content and messages, tailored to specific audiences at specific locations and times. This then

influences the customers’ short-term decision making, yielding a return on investment for the company. When launching and operating a digitally connected signage network, a vast majority of the project time is allocated to content and context. Often little time is devoted to the way this content is distributed to digital signs. The ongoing operating costs can represent a significant component when measuring the return on investment for the solution. Many companies utilise conventional telecommunications providers to run

technologies are suited to point-to-point communications and not to broadcasting large amounts of the same digital content.”

connected signage enables companies to communicate with customers through targeted up-to-date content and messages, tailored to specific audiences at specific locations and times. This then influences the customers’ short term decision making, yielding a return on investment for the company. Annual growth of When launching and operating a digitally connected signage network, a vastdigital majority of the signage sector project time is allocated to content and context. Often little time is devoted to way this upthe to 2013 content is distributed to digital signs. The ongoing operating costs can represent a significant component when measuring the return on investment for the solution.


Many companies utilise conventional telecommunications providers to run all the content through traditional means, such as cable or fibre optic technologies, without reviewing alternative viable communications methods. Conventional cable or fibre optic technologies are suited to point-to-point communications and not to broadcasting large amounts of the same digital content to a range of geographically dispersed display locations. Traditional signage network Area B

Area C

Network’s bandwidth

Area A

• Capacity for business operations impaired as signage network grows • As signage network grows, Digitally so will digital signage connected signage capacity, impacting scalability and ROI of solution

Core business and data driven management systems

Area D Area E

Multiple connection points which create points of potential failure Multiple vendors to manage which reduces efficiency

Key Vendor 1 Vendor 2 Vendor 3 Vendor 4

Digital sign Connection point

Proof of concept

to support rollout, is equally important satellite, is seen as less critical than all the content through traditional For proof of concept trials of digitally connected signage, existing cable or fibre optic as the other components. This will the other components of digitally means, such as cable or fibre optic communications are suitable. however, having to share network and bandwidth capabilities greatly theprove scalability, connected signage, such as content, technologies, without reviewing with other management systems such as pOS, data, Internet and dictate voice can to be cost and problematic. context, feedback, SW choice, HW ROI of the overall solution. alternative viable communications’ choice and screen size. Therefore, in methods. Conventional cable or Digitally connected signage via this case, conventional cable or fibre fibre optic technologies areStaged suited torollout “New wisdom suggests satellite access via the IT department is The point-to-point communications andstep tooptics The next take into consideration is staged rollout. choice of infrastructure to thatnot a significant review amountsrollout,usually be it cable, fibre optics or satellite, is seen asEfficient less critical the other chosen. to broadcasting large support and than cost-effective of the infrastructure to components of digitally connected signage, such as content, context, feedback,signage SW choice, of the same digital content to a Digitally connected and hW size. Therefore, in this case, conventional cable or fibre optics access via support rollout…This choice and screen Additional signage locations range of geographically dispersed multicasting are synonymous with the is usually chosen. will greatly dictate the the IT department Each new location requiring display locations. need to transmit content to a number scalability, cost and ROI connection to the digital signage of locations simultaneously with one locations of the overall solution.” additional signage network requires a communication Proof of concept transmission. Satellite technology each new location requiring connection to the digital signage network requires a link For proof of concept trials communication of digitally provides the mostthe efficient and costlinkto tothe thecentral centraldigital digitalcontent content development store. When new location development store. When the new connected signage, existing cable effective means of transmitting and is physically in place and has current communications using terrestrial capabilities, then the volume the digital signage to bedata. applied to the LaN/WaN locationwithin is physically in place andsolution needs or fibre optic communications are of information receiving Clients have the ability capabilities. In most cases additional capacityusing needs to be to acquired or information alternativelyfrom existing has current communications suitable. However, having to share multicast a single user level SLa‘s may need to be enforced. terrestrial capabilities, then the network and bandwidth capabilities point, providing a faster and more New wisdom suggests a significant review to support rollout, iscontent volumethat of information within theof the infrastructure with other management systems efficient method of delivering important as the other components. This dictate thegeographic scalability, areas. cost and digital signage solution needs to will be greatly such as POS, data, internetequally and voice, across large All rOI of the overall solution. applied to the LAN/WAN capabilities. can prove to be problematic. sites within a secure and private In most cases additional capacity network are configured to receive needs to be acquired or alternatively Staged rollout content simultaneously, therefore existing user level SLA‘s may need to The next step to take into providing a more cost-effective be enforced. consideration is staged rollout. The method to deliver information to New wisdom suggests that a choice of infrastructure to support multiple locations. significant review of the infrastructure rollout, be it cable, fibre optics or According to the most recent January 2012 | SatellitePro | 21

options, are unaffected by damage to physical lines or cables.

“One of Australia’s largest With satellite based networks, each new location needs simply to have a satellite dish installed, retail chains established connected in the location to the digital content system and pointed to the chosen satellite in the satellite transmission as sky, with no impact on inter-location communications. a cornerstone of delivery of content and corporate disaster recovery communications to over a satellite network can also serve as a standby back-up for terrestrial networks and pays 800 stores.” for itself in a digital media solution. Clients use the satellite network during “normal mode” SatResearch for broadcasting applications. however, in the event of a disaster when terrestrial networks fail, mission critical voice and data traffic can be re-routed over the secure satellite network until terrestrial communications are restored, enabling the core business to function without disruption. Satellite signage network Area B

Area C

Scalable network where capacity stays same and every additional site lowers the overall average cost per site

Area A

Separate network Area D Area E

Digitally connected signage

• As signage network grows capacity stays the same • Can act as backup network if core business network fails

Single network to manage with no additional connection points which present potential points of failure

Benefits of satellite technology

mode” for broadcasting applications. manage. Other delivery options with Digital Signage Expo (DSE) quarterly • Most efficient means of transmitting content However, in the event of a disaster comparable footprints usually require Business Barometer, which analyses Multiple locations configured to receive content simultaneously when terrestrial networks fail, multiple terrestrial connectivity research data collected• from 447 mission critical voice and data traffic vendors, therefore reducing digital signage providers• (84% in Cost-effective and scalable with incremental ROI can be re-routed over the secure efficiency. Satellite communications North America), over a quarter of • As signage network grows satellite capacity stays the same satellite network until terrestrial also have the advantage of scalability future company budgets will be • Multicast content from a single point across large geographical areas communications are restored, and rapid deployment, quickly absorbed by “deployment and enabling the core business to establishing a broadband network delivery” activities. In fact, • the Secure and private network function without disruption. virtually anywhere and unlike investment required in “hardware, • Manage one network, compared to multiple terrestrial vendors terrestrial options, are unaffected by deployment and delivery”, averages • Less connection points (potential failure points) than traditional network Benefits of satellite technology damage to physical lines or cables. over 45% of budgets. • Most efficient means of transmitting With satellite based networks, Therefore, selecting• theRapid deployment and greater geographical reach most content each new location needs simply cost affordable communications • Not affected if terrestrial/traditional networks are disrupted • Multiple locations configured to to have a satellite dish installed, service is paramount for any digital • Can serve as a back-up network for terrestrial networks receive content simultaneously connected in the location to the signage business and all alternatives • Cost-effective and scalable with digital content system and pointed including satellite, should be incremental ROI to the chosen satellite in the sky, considered. Satellite technology is • As signage network grows satellite with no impact on inter-location ideal for not only digitally connected capacity stays the same communications. signage, but also for applications • Multicast content from a single point such as digital cinema, tele-medicine, across large geographical areas e-learning and other broadcasting Disaster recovery • Secure and private network applications. A satellite network can also serve • Manage one network, compared to as a standby back-up for terrestrial multiple terrestrial vendors networks and pays for itself in a Reliability and scalability • Less connection points (potential digital media solution. Clients use Satellite communications ensure failure points) than traditional network the satellite network during “normal there is only one network to 22 | SatellitePro | January 2012

9mins • Rapid deployment and greater geographical reach • Not affected if terrestrial/traditional networks are disrupted • Can serve as a back-up network for terrestrial networks Practical application Seven years ago, one of Australia’s largest retail chains established satellite transmission as a cornerstone of delivery of content and corporate communications to its 800+ stores. Customers and staff are now kept informed about new products, special offers and the latest information, via digital signage displays throughout each store. They have summarised the key outcomes of this project as: • The ability to deliver content by

satellite “one-to-many” so that all stores concurrently receive exactly the same content, boosting efficiency, effectiveness and consistency. • The ability to deliver content via their own private satellite network, providing security, safety, and reliability. • Satellite bandwidth remains the same over time no matter how many sites are rolled out, resulting in rapid ROI and minimal administration. Greek shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis once said: “The secret of business is to know something nobody else knows” and this describes this retailer. Conclusion If you are seeking seamless, secure, reliable and cost-effective transmission of content to many locations, no other

To send a 100mb file to 1,000 sites via a 1.5mbps satellite connection

solution delivers as well as satellite technology. Conventional cable and fibre optic technology is suited to point-to-point communications, not broadcasting large amounts of the same digital content. A private and secure satellite solution provides the most efficient method to multicast content, is scalable without incrementally increasing costs and can be rapidly deployed anywhere in world. Additionally, your digitally connected signage network can also serve as a back-up network in the event of a disaster when your terrestrial networks fail, enabling the core business to function without disruption. PRO White paper, courtesy Newsat Ltd (

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IP Over Satellite: Reaching beyond the cable infrastructure IP over satellite throws open most of the potential of two-way communication, making it possible to deliver real-time linear broadcasting, on-demand content and OTT services via satellite in addition to catering to diverse sectors such as manufacturing and mobile hospitality writes Simen Frostad, chairman, Bridge Technologies

Simen Frostad, chairman, Bridge Technologies

24 | SatellitePro | January 2012

Delivering connectivity – internet access, voice-over-IP, streaming video, and so on – over a satellite link to homes and small businesses might be thought of as a solution more appropriate for developing regions than countries with mature telecommunications’ networks and cable infrastructure. In fact, many countries in Europe and elsewhere have large areas where populations are thinly spread or beyond the reach of traditional cable-based broadband for various reasons. Often, these communities make a significant economic contributions in terms of agriculture and light industry, and governments generally want to keep these communities viable and avoid letting them fall behind the metropolitan population through lack of access to connected services. Countries like Spain, Greece and Portugal are

examples: with a substantial proportion of the population living in rural areas that are not served by broadband-over-cable where connectivity by satellite is an attractive solution. Government and regional initiatives are under way to promote the penetration of internet access into remote communities, both in Europe and Africa, with initiatives such as ‘internet kiosks’ that offer access to the web as a community resource. In Greece, hill villages are equipped with a satellite access point, feeding a local wifi hotspot so that villagers can use their own computers online. Connectivity across the MENA region In the Middle East region and in North Africa, there are both concentrated centres of population and regions of relatively low density, so in


Global mobile satellite services market in 2020

Internet kiosk in Africa

Government and regional initiatives are under way to promote the penetration of internet access into remote communities, both in Europe and Africa, with initiatives such as ‘internet kiosks’ that offer access to the web as a community resource many respects the situation is not that different from some parts of Europe. Cable-based infrastructure may not have been developed to the same degree, but widespread mobile phone ownership has leapfrogged the fixed-line telecommunications market. Mobile access to the internet would be the obvious next step in connecting remote communities, but for the full broadband experience…this is still some way off.

IP connectivity by satellite is a good solution in the meanwhile. IP over satellite throws open most of the potential of twoway communication, making it possible to deliver real-time linear broadcasting, on-demand content and OTT services via satellite. The technology creates an opportunity for satellite providers to use their capacity to deliver a user experience that is comparable to what’s available via wired broadband.

Throughout the Middle East region there is a widespread familiarity with satellite as a means of receiving television, and satellite equipment companies are now packaging offerings for consumers and small businesses that are easy to install and calibrate without expert help. These are often provided to the end-user as part of a service provider’s deal for access, and in some parts of the region, service providers work in conjunction with government agencies promoting the growth of internet use. These providers segment their customer base carefully, offering services closely tailored to the requirements of each sector: users include not just consumers wanting internet access, email, January 2012 | SatellitePro | 25

SatTrends video streaming and so on, but also consumers in specialised industrial, educational and administrative customers. Untapped potential for satellite operators At the consumer level, streaming media consumption now adds up to the majority of the total web traffic, and of course this is forecast to rise sharply. With the best streaming media services available, high quality images can be delivered even over a relatively slow link, meaning that users can receive broadcast quality video on their computers. The availability of high-quality video with interactive access to it on demand, together with voice over internet, email and full access to the web, adds up to a compelling product for consumers, as the growth of these services has shown. For the satellite service operators, this is an additional market that offers relatively untapped potential, and the most innovative operators may develop better business models than those offered by the cable-based media suppliers. Potential in manufacturing and mobile hospitality In industrial applications, both manufacturers in rural locations and agricultural businesses need high-quality connections to the global marketplace, and there is a fast-growing sector of business in mobile access, both consumer and professional. Sectors of industry such as mining and exploration, renewable power generation and transport can all benefit from being connected to the net in order to exchange 26 | SatellitePro | January 2012

data from any location or while on the move. Employers keen to retain valued employees working in remote locations also want to provide access to entertainment for them in their leisure time, as well as a connection to friends and family back home. The mobile hospitality industry too is under pressure to match the facilities its customers enjoy at home, giving cruise and airline passengers more of a connected and interactive experience. These are areas where satellite providers are looking for growth,

Challenges of remote monitoring But to ensure growth in any connectivity services, operators have to deliver a quality of service and experience that meets customer expectations, and these are rising all the time. And since one of the main characteristics of IP over satellite is that the service is usually provided to end users who are remote from population centres, it follows that maintenance and support for these customers is likely to be much more costly for operators. Failure to provide high

The technology [IP over satellite] creates an opportunity for satellite providers to use their capacity to deliver a user experience that is comparable to what’s available via wired broadband to complement revenue from their core services. Data on the Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) sector shows it emerging from the recession faster than the rest of the satellite market, according to NSR (, which predicts that the global MSS market will grow to $10.2 billion in 2020, more than doubling from its current volume. MSS operators have grown more than eight per cent in the past year while fixed satellite services (FSS) VSAT operators have seen their share of the satellite mobility revenues top the 20% mark. MSS targets include the maritime market, where both industrial and leisure shipping needs internet access and media services. The airlines, outdoor consumer and professional markets are the other main growth areas, in addition to the base of military and governmental users.

levels of availability and service quality – especially for industrial users – would be fatal to growth. Operators intending to expand in these sectors should therefore build into their infrastructure an advanced end-to-end digital monitoring system that equips operators to monitor the entire delivery chain, even into the subscriber’s premises, with the ability to analyse every packet delivered to the customer. A 24/7 real time access gives complete information on every factor influencing service quality, and is much more cost-effective than sending an engineer to resolve the issue on site and with the ability to ensure service quality in any location, however remote from their operations base, service providers can look to the IP-over-satellite market as an attractive target for growth. PRO


Satellite is A CRITICAL app “We are in a time similar to the dawn of the Industrial Age,” says David Hershberg, CEO, Globecomm and member of Society of Satellite Professionals Hall of Fame. In an interview with SatellitePro, the industry veteran talks about potential in Africa, technology innovations and offers advice on coping with recession The big players in the satellite industry are making serious inroads into Africa – do you see any challenges operating across that continent? While there are many challenges operating in Africa, we have managed to operate and install a good number of networks there. There are challenges in every project because networks are not simple things. However, with 28 | SatellitePro | January 2012

governments, it is always an issue of working with a formal request for proposal and a specific contract process. It is also a question of ensuring reliable financing and receiving payment or letters of credit. Maturing economies, or those which are not fully transparent, are more of a risk. What is your tolerance for risk, is always the question. The risk is outweighed by need, in my view.

There is a big need for providing internet, cellular backhaul and private and public networks in Africa. We are actively pursuing contracts in Africa and, I like to think, helping specific countries move into what the Intelligent Community Forum calls “The Broadband Economy.” Another challenge faced currently, because there are more networks in place, is maintaining systems in Africa. That is a different discussion.

23 The cellular backhaul market is expected to reach $23 billion by 2012. How much of the cellular backhaul market will be addressed via satellite? And what are the growth areas across the globe? It is clear to us that the efficiency of the new satellites will reduce the cost of satellite backhaul from approximately US$8,000 per T1 to less than US$1,000. The sheer economics [involved] transforms the satellite option and product into a viable alternative in many locations. What is exciting is that we will be able to allow sparsely populated areas without adequate broadband infrastructure to enjoy cellular services, including voice and data. For them, satellite is the “critical app” that gives their economies more life. While HDTV is widely accepted and being implemented, how do you believe the market for 3D will grow? What are the challenges in trying to ‘marry customers with technology’ as far as 3D is concerned? We have not seen a great demand for providing 3D systems or services. We have talked to some of our customers but the attitude seems to be to “wait and see”. I believe that like digital cinema, which is hitting its stride, the moment for 3D will arrive. We are planning for it, but to date I cannot say there is a gold rush anywhere that we see. From the home-built radio at the age of 11 to delivering anytime, anywhere information, do you believe your generation has seen all the dramatic changes there is to see for a lifetime – that change from now onwards will be incremental?

David Hershberg, CEO, Globecomm

Value of cellular backhaul market by the year 2012

fibre. What are the possibilities for the satellite industry in this sector? What areas have not been addressed as yet in this sector by the satellite industry? Yes. You cannot “dig up” the oceans to lay fibre. (Although I am sure someone has thought about it!) One of the most important uses of communications at sea is affordable voice and internet service for the crews. Crew morale is important also. Here the use of VSAT and K- band service is evolving. Inmarsat has made headlines by claiming it will offer low-cost Ka band service.

It is clear to us that the efficiency of the new satellites will reduce the cost of satellite backhaul from approximately US$8,000 per T1 to less than US$1,000 No. The pace of change is accelerating. Going back to Kaband, the new Ka band satellites provide 10 times the throughput from last year. Do the math on that one and it blows your mind. Accelerators and compression techniques are increasing efficiency at a faster and faster pace and new applications are being found for satellites in transportation, oil and gas and media. We are in a time similar to the dawn of the Industrial Age, because we have uncovered and made commercially available, a range of communications’ applications that are driving new types of demands and also driving ideas for people to make money around them. Heck, we’ve even discovered planets that have a more comfortable temperature than Earth – and one of them is even larger! Maritime is one sector where there is no competition from

Another use is M2M (machine-tomachine) service for cargo and ship data. This is an entirely new area that is worth talking about at some point. Going forward what direction will demands from the military sector take vis-a-vis the satellite industry? As with most everything else in our societies, the nature of both war and peace-keeping have changed dramatically because of satellite and internet networks and related digital technologies. In fact, generals will tell you that “cyber protection” has become a literal branch of the military. Through this, what is called “Blue Force” tracking, has become a major satellite requirement with all militaries. This requires broadband battlefield communications to expand to remote places, where peacekeeping forces for the United Nations, NATO and others need small, reliable and January 2012 | SatellitePro | 29

SatInterview We also had our problems but adjusted and were flexible in our thinking. Our major problem was that we made bandwidth capacity commitments before we had the requirements. Fortunately we did not borrow money and were able to buy our way out of satellite and fibre capacity agreements that we made during the euphoria of that first bubble. This period is different because the markets are different. The “velocity” of the markets and the ability to be disintermediated by competition is higher than ever. I

highly transportable systems. To accommodate this need, we have developed a complete line of these systems in X, Ku and Ka band. I expect the market for these products to be a growth area for us and our partners. You set yourself a challenging goal of coming up with a new product or a new market each year. In 2010 what success did you achieve in this endeavor? It is something I insist on, actually. Again, innovation is our heritage. In this year, both our GSM and CDMA switches were rolled out to Tier 1 level. We initiated VSAT service in the maritime business and developed a family of tactical terminals, including a remarkable product we call Manpacks. For the enterprise side, we introduced a new software product called TEMPO, which is targeted for distance learning and corporate communications purposes. We have also entered the cellular consulting business with our acquisition of ComSource. Finally we received Ka-band contracts from Hughes for its Jupiter programme gateway terminals and from governments worldwide.

The “velocity” of the markets and the ability to be disintermediated by competition is higher than ever… Have enough (by way of) different products and markets to hedge against downturns This may be the most important development because Ka-band will become increasingly important in the years ahead. You witnessed the dotcom bubble burst and survived. What would your advice be to satellite companies during the current period of prolonged global recession?

would say that the main thing is do is to not leverage one’s business based upon optimistic projections which might change very quickly. Diversify around your core offerings and innovate. Have enough (by way of) different products and markets to hedge against downturns. Easier said than done, I know. However, it is a key to survival and there are ways to do it. PRO

About David Hershberg David Hershberg started his career in 1959 at ITT Defense Communications working on earth stations for the first active communications satellite carrier as well as many other early satellite programmes. He founded ITT Space Communications, Inc. in 1968; Comtech, Inc. Systems Division in 1972; and Satellite Transmission Systems, Inc. in 1976, each becoming successful. During his 18 years as President and CEO of Satellite Transmission Systems, Inc., STS became the global leader in the field of satellite communications ground

30 | SatellitePro | January 2012

station systems. STS had annual sales in excess of $110 million, and an installed base of over 1,000 major earth terminals. In addition to his duties at STS, Hershberg also served as the president of the Satellite Communications Group of California Microwave Inc., which included responsibility for EF DATA, Inc. and CMI Mobile Products. David E. Hershberg founded Globecomm Systems Inc., in 1994 and has been its chief executive officer and chairman of the Board of Directors since its inception.


Ka-band leads the way - III In the third of our series, Serge Van Herck, CEO of Newtec, explains how Ka-band high throughput satellites will transform the business of satellite service providers, teleports and broadcasters and impact video contribution and distribution Satellite operators around the world know it: the future of satellite communications is called Kaband. This is simply because the total capacity offered by other commercial frequency bands cannot possibly cope with the ever increasing bandwidth requirements of the cyber world, certainly not at a competitive price against terrestrial services. Relief will not come from the satellite broadcast industry, as new channels, HDTV and soon 3D TV, claim increasing shares of the available Ku and C band capacity. In the long run, the only way for satellite operators and satellite services providers to stay in the game is therefore to launch or use new Ka-band satellites. Many launches are now planned around the globe for the coming years and although the main target of these launches is large-scale consumer broadband access networks, the availability of new Kaband satellites is very likely to have a major impact on the rest of the satellite market, including broadcast and business applications. For video contribution With the globalisation of media consuming habits, video contribution has become a matter of exchanging audiovisual content on a large scale. Most broadcasters 32 | SatellitePro | January 2012

Serge Van Herck, CEO, Newtec

locally, satellite seems to be more and more confined to the only application fibre cannot address: mobile news gathering. The availability of Ka-band satellite networks could change this picture. Indeed, the capacity would not only be cheaper and more abundant, but the star configuration of the satellite network is perfect to centralise media content in order to better distribute it to multiple recipients, something which is more

The star configuration of the satellite network is perfect to centralise media content in order to better distribute it to multiple recipients, something which is more complicated and expensive to achieve with fibre are members of international TV and radio contribution platforms for the exchange of news, sport and live event broadcast. A decade ago these platforms were still mostly based on satellite links, even for transmissions from studio to studio. But since then, factors such as the cost of the bandwidth, the reach of the coverage and the availability of the capacity have pushed broadcasters to turn to fibre networks and even to the public internet to fulfil their media exchange needs. In fact, unless fibre is not yet available

complicated and expensive to achieve with fibre. With this idea, Ka-band gateways can become media gateways where the media content is made available for high speed real-time or on-demand access from multiple sites across large geographical areas. The implementation of such contribution networks however requires a very specific infrastructure in the hub and in the terminals in order to cope with the challenges of scheduling transmissions, reserving capacity, coping with rain fade,

storing media content in the hub, interconnecting gateways with fibre, organising the media distribution and controlling the access rights to the media. The case of mobile news gathering is particularly tricky since the reservation and allocation of satellite capacity depends on where (which spot beam) the SNG is located. That said not only would the capacity be cheaper and more abundant using Ka-band but the star configuration of the satellite network is ideal to centralise media content in order to better distribute it to multiple recipients. We could therefore see a change in the hosting and operation of networks which could induce changes in the value chain and offer new business opportunities for service providers and operators. For video distribution Ka-band Direct-to-home TV

distribution already exists in the United States. It comes both with advantages and drawbacks. The advantages are the smaller antenna size and the possibility to broadcast regional content within a limited geographical area, using only one or several spot beams (for example over a large city). The drawbacks are the large number of uplink transmission systems that are needed (one for each beam) and the lower availability of the signal because of rain fade, which can’t be compensated by adaptive counter measures in the case of one-way multicast applications. The spot beam advantage could prove very interesting for TV distribution over regions such as Europe or the Middle-East. Regional broadcasters or TV stations of smaller countries could consider broadcasting their TV programmes via satellite. This is because the limited foot print of

the spot beam would avoid the current problem of prohibitive media content distribution rights (movies, music) when the content can be received in much larger geographical areas than the targeted country or region. Provided the signal availability is high enough, Ka spot beams could also be used for the primary distribution of digital terrestrial or mobile TV over smaller countries or regions, which is today economically impossible because of the high cost of the Ku or C-band capacity or because of other issues related to distribution rights outside of the country. Even if they have to uplink from the gateways, television distribution platforms are oneway transmission infrastructures that can easily be added next to broadband access networks, on a hosting basis or as part of a shared platform operated by the satellite or service provider. PRO January 2012 | SatellitePro | 33


“Cabsat 2012 will expand by 15%” In conversation with event organiser, David Roberts, industry group manager, DWTC Global interest in the region: “In the last three to five years, there has been massive amount of investment in infrastructure in the region with new satellites launched to serve the region. The industry is maturing rapidly. Even in terms of visitors, we are seeing registrations from countries in Eastern Europe. With our expanded marketing efforts, you will see visitors from Africa and S.Asia, among other regions.“

Current status of the show (as of mid-December 2011): “We are a long way ahead as compared to the same time last year and that has already made CABSAT 2012 the biggest CABSAT ever. With more than 95% of the exhibition space booked, it puts us in a stronger position and allows us to incorporate more visitordriven features in the show.“ Response from exhibitors: “In terms of exhibition space, we will be expanding by 15%. We are already moving into areas that we had not moved into. The aisle space is now 2.5 metres wide, which is the minimum that is allowed for exhibitions. We have seen our existing exhibitors move into bigger stands and we have seen a massive influx of new exhibitors. Among the satellite operators, we see teleport operators such as Santander and Milano participating for the first time. Paksat, EADS Astrium and Inmarsat are all participating for the first time and companies such as Skyband have moved into larger stands. “I believe the key message that this region is lucrative for both manufacturers and all other players in the value chain is reflected in the increased interest from exhibitors. All this is good news for the region. Exhibitors 34 | SatellitePro | January 2012

David Roberts, industry group manager, DWTC

are aware that there is a very specific quality to this region. While countries such as the UAE may have a very well developed fibre network, large parts of the Middle East and Africa have to rely on satellites for communication and entertainment. In addition, vertical markets such as oil and gas have grown phenomenally and satellite operators are alive to this opportunity as well. While the broadcast section of the event accounts for 2/3rds of the show, the section dedicated to the satellite sector is growing enormously. We see a lot of interest in countries outside the GCC that look upon countries such as the UAE as a rolemodel and CABSAT operates as a platform for inter-regional cooperation.”

Marketing campaign for CABSAT: “This year, in addition to attending other events and issuing regular press releases, we used enhanced barter campaigns and sophisticated media platforms to promote our event. From January 1, our social media campaign will kick off. We have outsourced this to a specialised agency. While the marketing for exhibitors is relationship-based and more one-to-one, social media will help create buzz among potential visitors to the event. You can never have enough quality visitors to your show. In addition, we are working with local universities to enable them to bring their students for the show.“ Networking and learning opportunities during the event: “While many of the exhibitors are organising corporate events


Reach of satellite television among MENA households by 2016

Satellite TV for 65 million MENA homes by 2016

around CABSAT, we will be featuring vendor-led presentations under the umbrella of the CABSAT Academy, within the exhibition hall. These presentations will not exceed 45 minutes in duration, a win-win situation for all. The presentations that is packaged as a byte-sized snapshot allow the exhibitor to get the message across and the visitor has enough time to watch and learn and then move on to visiting other stands. This year, the very successful GVF summit last year, will be extended to two days. All these sessions are free to attend.” Gauging the success of CABSAT: “For me, after 18 years in trade shows, when you walk around your show and you cannot talk to exhibitors because they are too

busy talking to visitors, you know the event is a success. More so, when they want to talk to you after the show. The 2011 event was very much like that and I hope 2012 will be better. We have intense, almost three-month long, one-onone, post-show interview sessions with our exhibitors. Based on their feedback we try to improve the show. We are moving to a new format for 2012 and it promises to be better than the show held in 2011 at the Sheikh Zayed Hall. “Shows such as IBC and NAB are decades old, and while we have some way to go, CABSAT is currently achieving double digit growth each year in terms of exhibition size and it will not be too long before we are knocking on the doors of these two larger, more established events.” PRO

CABSAT, the leading digital media event in the region, is bringing together the most dynamic - and lucrative - broadcast markets in the world. According to the latest research by Informa Telecoms and Media, there are 80 million television households in the Middle East and North Africa market. Today satellite television reaches 65% of them, but by 2016 that proportion will rocket to 80%. With almost 95% of the exhibiting space already sold out, CABSAT is set to welcome leading companies from around the world, including: Arabsat, Astrium, Avid, Canon, Dubai Studio City, Eutelsat S.A., For.A Company Limited, Harris Systems, Hitachi Broadcast, Humax, Live, Mediacast, Panasonic, Sony, Salam Media Cast, twofour54 and Al Yahsat. The event is more than just an exhibition. This year there are even more opportunities for specialist training, tutorials and hands-on workshops under the umbrella of the CABSAT Academy. The GVF Satellite Summit is extended to two days because of the weight of information to be exchanged - there will be 19 new satellites launched by 2013.

Event details Event: CABSAT Date: 28 February - 1 March, 2012 Venue: Dubai World Trade Centre Website:

January 2012 | SatellitePro | 35


gvf forum at cabsat: spotlight on ka-band Driven by robust market dynamics and technology drivers, the satellite communications industry will gather at CABSAT 2012 to address among other issues, the mature yet escalating force that is communications via satellite Ka-band, at a two-day Global VSAT Forum (GVF), writes Martin Jarrold, chief of International Programme Development, GVF

Martin Jarrold, chief of International Programme Development, GVF

As an official media partner, SatellitePro will cover the two-day GVF MENASAT@CABSAT 2012. Visit for regular updates

36 | SatellitePro | January 2012

It is gratifying to open my column here with the news that the GVF agenda during – and following just after – the forthcoming CABSAT exhibition will be busier in 2012 than in all the previous years where I have been involved in the Association’s annual programmes at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre. The subject of Ka-band will be a key focus of the agenda of the second day of GVF MENASAT @ CABSAT 2012, a day that setsout to examine and profile the nature of satellite applications and technologies in the MENA region. But, prior to this, MENASAT will investigate an issue that for the satellite industry, and for its customers, is responsible for causing service interruptions, significant increases in operational costs, decreasing reliability, and one that generally impacts industry competitiveness – radio frequency interference, or RFI. In the September 2011 issue of SatellitePro, in an article entitled ‘The Practicalities of Mitigating Interference’, Martin Coleman, Executive Director of sIRG (the Satellite Interference Reduction

Group) wrote in some detail about satellite radio frequency interference issues – its causes, and how the industry is working collaboratively to mitigate it – including the work that sIRG is doing with GVF. GVF and sIRG work closely on RFI, and indeed sIRG is one of the organisations with which GVF is working to bring the satellite interference agenda to the attention of CABSAT attendees in 2012. Themes to be included at the GVF MENASAT @ CABSAT are: Addressing Satellite Interference Challenges; ProActive & Re-active Solutions; Training & Certification; Product Quality Assurance; Carrier ID; Spectrum Initiatives; Space Data Association; Network Validation Initiatives to Address Sub-Optimal & Dysfunctional Networks; AutoDeploy Antenna Systems. Beyond the dialogue on satellite interference, the subjects for discussion during the MENASAT Satellite Markets & Services Summit, to be held on 1st March, is a widely encompassing overview of a range of key issues on the current international satellite communications agenda,

15 including: Understanding Today’s and Forecasting Tomorrow’s Regional Growth Drivers; Satellite Transponder Supply and Demand, and the Dynamics of Ka-band in the MENA Region: Global and Regional Satellite Operators Local Knowledge and Universal Markets; Satellite-Wireless Access to Multimedia Solutions on the Move; Mitigating Disaster, Promoting Development, Driving Sustainability; Energy, Maritime, other Key Regional Verticals – The Mission Criticality of the Communications Space; New Regulatory Dynamics: MENA Administrations in a Global Context; The DVB-S2 Technology Advantage; Sustainable Development Solutions via ‘SatCommunity’ CSR Initiatives. The significance of Ka-band One of the subjects listed above brings me full-circle, back to the subject of Ka-band. Ka-band refers in general to frequencies roughly in 17-22 GHz downlink and 24-31 GHz uplink, as compared to C-band which refers to frequencies around 3-4 GHz in the downlink and around 6-7 GHz in the uplink, and Ku-band refers to frequencies around 10-12 GHz in the downlink and around 13-14 GHz in the uplink. Worldwide, as of November 2011, a total of 15 global and regional satellite operators have launched spacecraft equipped in whole or in part with Ka-band transponder payloads. More operators have such satellites at the planning stage, and in the near-term the total number of companies in the Ka transponder market will have risen to 22. Kaband allows satellite operators to

Spacecraft launches as of 2011 with Ka-band transponder payloads

Ka-band frequency allocations – set by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – have a substantial degree of regional commonality, thus laying the groundwork for harmonised use of the Kaband spectrum internationally provide new and better services to key sectors, and it offers low-cost equipment and lower airtime rates: • For the consumer sector (e.g. broadband internet access, advanced video services) • For the government sector (e.g., policy goals such as ‘Broadband for All’; remote education and medicine; connectivity in remote or sparsely populated areas, emergency communication) • For the enterprise sector (e.g., cellular backhaul for LTE and 4G; global data communications services for both the mobile and fixed communities; redundancy communications for the oil and gas, and maritime communities) Ka-band frequency allocations – set by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – have a substantial degree of regional commonality, thus laying the groundwork for harmonised use of the Ka-band spectrum internationally. This is vital for the rapid deployment of international satellite services and encouraging the exploitation of the Ka-band for fixed, transportable and mobile satellite service. To ensure that citizens and businesses can enjoy the benefits of new Ka-band satellite services, National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) should enable market access for such systems by ensuring the following: • Authorisation procedures and processes should be transparent and non-discriminatory, with

minimal associated paperwork and costs. • Regulatory fees should be limited to compensating the relevant administrative costs to the regulator. • Wherever possible, blanket licensing of end-user terminals should be employed. • An “Open Skies” policy should be adopted for market access to satellite capacity, i.e., foreign and national satellite operators and service providers should be treated equally. The least onerous licensing for all parties (regulators and operators) is a registration system, by which operators inform the regulator of their intent to use a set of frequencies which have already been approved by that regulator for this use. The demand for spectrum never abates. Over the years satellite systems have responded to this increasing demand by developing evermore efficient and powerful space and ground segments. Now the satellite market has responded to the demand for spectrum by developing brandnew state-of-the-art systems that can use the Ka-band. Specific details of the evolving programme for the MENASAT Satellite Interference Mitigation Forum can be obtained from the GVF website ( and CABSAT website ( PRO January 2012 | SatellitePro | 37


Satellite telecom solutions at Malaysian defence show The Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition ( LIMA) held from 6 – 10 December, 2011, for aerospace and maritime manufacturers attracted more than 500 companies and over 50,000 trade and public visitors from all over the world. For around 20 years, LIMA has assembled decision makers and specifiers from across the Asia Pacific for this five-day biennial event. With a portfolio of satellite communications solutions, Thuraya was one of the main exhibitors during the event showcasing various solutions that have reportedly received military approvals. Thuraya’s DefenceComms solutions include the world’s smallest satellite broadband terminal to support 384 Kbps

Robert Demers. vice president government services, Thuraya

streaming, Thuraya IP, as well as Thuraya XT, a narrowband aeronautical solution, Thuraya NettedComms, the MarineNet Pro maritime broadband solution, Seagull 5000i and a Comms-onthe-Move antenna. “With seamless coverage in Asia and a range of products that

defence organisations can rapidly deploy for assured, secure, highspeed data, voice and maritime solutions, Thuraya is poised to serve the defence sector that demand customised and reliable satellite communications for vital operations,” said Thuraya’s vice president government services, Robert Demers. For Navy Officers, on display at the Thuraya stand was the soon-to-be launched MarineNet Pro, a maritime broadband solution which provides data speeds up to 444 Kbps as well as streaming speeds up to 384 Kbps while at sea. Also on show for the maritime sector is the Seagull 5000i, a solution that provides voice, data, SMS and fax services based exclusively on Thuraya’s satellite network.

Strong energy sector demand for HTS satellites, say experts at GVF Forum High Throughput Satellites (HTS) will increasingly be a key addition to the offshore communications industry’s portfolio, as energy-sector interests demand more broadband for less cost. The projection of strong demand for HTS solutions was one of several prominent topics explored during the “GVF Oil & Gas Communications South East Asia” conference (O&GCSEA2011) held in November 2011 at the Crowne Plaza Mutiara Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Themed ‘Redefining the Digital Oilfield Onshore, Offshore, Deep & Ultra-Deepwater’, the event 38 | SatellitePro | January 2012

attracted approximately 100 offshore communications’ executives, who heard more than a dozen reports from front-line experts. A report provided by Northern Sky Research (NSR), an independent consulting firm, revealed that HTS – a term that refers to new high-frequency, high-powered broadband satellites – is poised to drive a significant volume of business, despite negative economic trends in the international marketplace. “By 2020, HTS will account for 7.65% of total retail satellite communications revenues, compared with only 0.12% in 2011”,

said Patrick French, NSR’s Senior Analyst. “Energy-sector companies’ appetite for cost-effective broadband is a major factor in this growth projection, because they depend on high-throughput connectivity to increase operational productivity and reduce costs.” A host of industry leaders also provided market and technology insights during O&GCSEA, which was held in association with Harris CapRock, Intelsat, Hughes, SpeedCast, and Hermes Datacomms, and was supported by the Asia Pacific Satellite Communications Council (APSCC).


HTS share of retail satellite communications revenues by 2020

Upcoming satellite events in the Middle East Milsatcom Middle East Milsatcom Middle East is a two-day conference that will connect regional military and security professionals with the commercial military satellite communications industry. This event will provide an in-depth understanding on emerging trends, changing battleground realities, connectivity, network security and regulatory concerns. The Military Satcom conference aims to provide regional commanders from all sections of the defence and

security forces, departments of interior, national security agencies and other government agencies, the opportunity to examine new capabilities, network and meet with leading commercial satcom service providers.

• Hosted payloads and other new business models • Command, control, and logistics • Network continuity plus security • UAV video and data transmissions • Beyond line-of-sight capabilities

The two-day conference will address the following issues: • Business of milsatcom • Regional and global milsatcom case studies • Regulatory and other strategic issues

Event details Event: Milsatcom Middle East Date: January 23 – 24, 2012 Venue: Fairmont Bab al Bahr, Abu Dhabi Website:

Broadband MEA Broadband MEA, the region’s premier broadband event, is expanding its programme in 2012. Leading operators, Etisalat, Saudi Telecom (STC), Sudatel Telecom Group and du, are participating, as well as vital industry content players and industry ‘game changers’ such as Google and Al Jazeera. The conference has a speaker line-up that includes Nasser Bin Obood, CEO at Etisalat UAE, Dr. Saad Zafer Al Kahtani, CEO Strategic Operations at STC and Hatem Bamatraf, senior VP of Network Development and Operations at du. Dr. Saad Zafer Al Kahtani of STC said: “We are very excited to be part of the Broadband MEA 2012 show next year. It is a key event in the calendar for STC as it provides a fantastic networking opportunity with our key industry partners and enables us to showcase our latest innovations. STC has embarked

Keynote presentation by H.E. Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, director general of the TRA

on major developments within the ICT industry through smart investments on a state-of-the-art broadband infrastructure and its related ecosystems.” In recognition of its work in driving the sustainable growth of broadband in the Middle East and Africa region, Broadband MEA 2012 has the official support of the TRA UAE, the event’s official government partner. Delegates will also get the opportunity to hear a keynote

presentation from H.E. Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, director general of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). Now in its fourth year, the conference and exhibition will reportedly bring together more than 1,000 decision makers. Broadband MEA’s programme also features ‘The Rural Broadband Summit’, which is set to explore delivering broadband connectivity to rural areas, and ‘The Executive Summit’ – an invitation-only event that will focus on convergence and ensuring the co-existence and sustainability of future fixed and wireless technologies.

Event details Event: Broadband MEA Date: 25 – 27 March, 2012 Venue: The Westin Mina Siyahi Beach Resort and Marina, Dubai Website: January 2012 | SatellitePro | 39


Close collaboration: Governments and commercial satellite operators

In conversation with Payam Herischi, COO, Emerging Markets Communications (EMC) Why are governments turning increasingly to commercial satellite operators such as EMC? The satellite industry, like all the other segments of telecommunications is the core infrastructure for the development of any nation. Government initiatives to provide an environment of growth for its citizens have never been so focused as in the past few decades. The digital divide and the opportunities for ‘leapfrogging’ into the future have been fueling the growth of the Telecom industry. [In this regard] the satellite industry, by nature, has two distinct advantages — fast deployment compared to traditional infrastructure and broadcast capability. Advancements in technology in the past several years have enabled satellite operators to provide more Mbps per satellite which in turn has reduced the cost of satellite services. Furthermore the technologies in the commercial satellite field have enhanced in a manner to provide quantifiable service for governmental and military use, in terms of pure connectivity. Designing and launching a satellite is a lengthy process and in the 21st century, speed and reaction time are crucial. In this current environment, a large number of countries have opened their monopolies in the telecommunication 40 | SatellitePro | January 2012

Payam Herischi, COO, Emerging Markets Communications (EMC)

organisations in the critical area of disaster relief? Since its inception, EMC’s core business model has been providing communications’ networks for organisations working in the most challenging areas of the world, including conflict areas. This has included global disasters and emergencies such as the Tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia, in 2004, where EMC was the first company to respond in support of the UN-led humanitarian effort to provide stable communication systems in a short time frame.

“A combination of the immediate and affordable commercial capacity and private sector efficiencies in operation, has eliminated the need for governments to commit to heavy investments in a satellite fleet” field and have paved the road for the private sector to take the lead in capturing the market needs for growth. A combination of the immediate and affordable commercial capacity and private sector efficiencies in operation, has eliminated the need for governments to commit to heavy investments in a satellite fleet. How have you engaged with governments and non-governmental

In response to the crisis in the Horn of Africa during the end of 2011, EMC assisted humanitarian organisations such as the UN and other NGOs by having teams in the field within the first week to install VSAT kits in Somalia to support communications’ efforts. These missions were critical in order to ensure the survival of thousands of people who were receiving support from the UN and the NGOs. PRO

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