NewSat CEO Proposed Hosted Satellite Communications Payload for NBN



It’s almost a year since government owned NBN decided to roll out the national broadband development scheme. The multi-billion dollar initiative aims to expand wired and wireless broadband coverage through massive deployment and construction of fiber optic lines and construction of two Ka-band communications satellites. In line with the wireless broadband targets of the project, NBN awarded a $620 million satellites communications contract to Space Systems/Loral. The joint venture will construct two Ka band satellites capable of delivering high-speed satellite communications Internet connection across the country, even in marginalized areas.

It took almost a year until Adrian Ballintine, the CEO and founder of locally owned satellite communications firm NewSat, lashed out at NBN’s snubbing. NewSat is deemed the largest employer in Australia’s satellite communications market, offering satellite services to US military and multinational firms. Ballintine said NewSat is in a great position to help NBN provide satellite broadband services through its upcoming Jabiru satellites. The satellite will run on Ka-band spectrum and provide high speed connectivity across Australia and nearby countries. The CEO said he was upset that NBN never approached NewSat to discuss possible partnership. NewSat teleports in Perth and Adelaide have been cited by the US military and the World Teleport Association as among the best in the world.

Hosted payload is a cost-efficient alternative to building satellites. It allows both the satellite carrier and payload customer to efficiently allocate their resources. Ballintine believed that this model will work for NBN.

NBN is also criticized by Australia’s opposition party over similar concerns. NBN has millions of dollars under its disposal, and the opposition expects a good return on investment. Opposition Leader Tony Abbot is quite disappointed with the recent figures on NBN nationwide user population which was far below the projected amount.

However, NBN CEO Mike Quigley justified the construction of satellites, arguing that no satellite carriers that serve Australia have extra capacity to meet the demand of NBN. Optimus indeed admitted that its Ku band fleet will not be sufficient for NBN.


WildBlue Launched 5 Mbps Satellite Broadband Communications Service in Colorado



WildBlue rolled out its 5-megabit-per-second broadband service in Colorado at an introductory price of $5o a month. It plans to launch a 12 Mbps service starting with the same price next month.

Surprisingly, the newest price is just a fraction of the $80-a-month fee being paid by Wildblue’s current national subscribers for a speed of 1.5 Mbps service. Although this is faster than dial up, it can hardly support bandwidth heavy applications like music downloads and video streaming.

WildBlue is also planning to launch its newest satellite communication service in other states like Nebraska and Wyoming. The satellite provider said it expects the service to be available nationwide next month.

Chief Executive Officer Tom Moore noted that satellite communications services are transforming the online landscape in areas underserved by national terrestrial Internet providers. The size of this market is estimated to be at 10 -20 million households.
Dubbed as “fast as fiber experience,” the newest satellite communications service rivals the mobile Internet services of Comcast and CenturyLink. However, Moore thinks that potential satellite Internet users are more likely to be those who have no access to wired Internet services.

According to Walter Piecyk, there is a potentially strong market for satellite communications and Internet services from the airlines industry. The BTIG Research analyst said that the possible satellite communications services for such applications make this type of mobile Internet offering a more attractive to satellite investors.

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Wireless Satellite Broadband With Global Satellite Coverage

Australian satellite communications stations send signals up to geostationary orbits to transmit broadband data around the world. Satellite broadband companies cater to business users and consumers as well who cannot get DSL or broadband connection in remote areas. Although satellite Internet is expensive, it is the only option for most people in areas not served by cellular broadband. Advances in satellite technology have been bringing down the cost of satellite broadband. Unlike the reach of cellular broadband, satellite coverage is bigger.
Latency in signal transmission can range from 500 milliseconds to 900 milliseconds. Although latency in signal transmission remains an issue, satellite broadband has been proven to be as reliable as DSL and cellular broadband. Satellite Internet is good for web browsing, Internet, VoIP and video streaming. Although multi-player Internet games are best played with landline Internet connection, satellite broadband can also be used to play games. The high latency can be attributed to the great distances travelled by the signals. If other factors affecting signalling delays are eliminated, the time for electromagnetic radio waves to reach the orbit is 500 milliseconds, or half a second.
The distance from the ground to the orbit is 71,400 km (44,400 mi), or 143,000 km (89,000 mi) for a full round trip, with latency ranging from 1,000–1,400 milliseconds. Whereas, latency of dial-up Internet signals range from 150–200 ms. However, for medium and low earth orbit satellites, the delay is not that much. For instance, Globalstar and Iridium satellites in MEO and LEO have latency of only 40 ms for round trip, although their throughput is less than broadband at 64 kbit/s per channel.

But the major selling point of satellite Internet carriers is their global Internet coverage made possible by their international VSAT networks. Satellite Internet is very helpful for people who need Internet connectivity in regions not reached by broadband carriers. Unlike cellular broadband carriers that rely on terrestrial transmitters, satellite broadband companies have satellites that can receive and transmit signals from and to anywhere in the world. Mining companies, ship carriers and other businesses that require a continuous and reliable broadband connection can count on satellite broadband.

Satellite broadband companies provide means of disaster recovery and emergency connectivity for critical transactions, such as those needing real-time data input. For such business operations, loss of Internet connectivity could mean millions of dollars in losses. Smart companies know the importance of investing on satellite Internet.