Report: UK Space Council outlines benefits of satellite broadband

By Derek du Preez
17 Jun 2011 View Comments

The UK Space Leadership Council has released a report, entitled Satellite Broadband Services, that calls on government and industry to support the development of satellite services.

The UK has two satellites using the Ka-band radio spectrum, which can deliver broadband between 20 and 30 times more efficiently than legacy satellite services.

Further reading

Avanti Communications' Hylas-1 satellite launched on 26 November 2010, and Eutelsat launched the KaSat satellite on 26 December 2010.

The report argues that "the success or otherwise of satellite broadband in the UK will be determined by the acceptance of this new technology in the market and the take-up of satellite broadband capacity".

It also highlights that satellite broadband does not offer the same experience as fixed-fibre networks, as it has a "fixed transmission capacity and higher latency".

However, it claims that "satellite is able to deploy broadband services much earlier to users not able to get broadband until the advance of fibre networks into their communities, which in some instances could take several years".

"Satellite is, therefore, a potential tactical option to deliver some level of service early," the report continues.

It goes on to estimate that satellite operators will have the capacity to deliver up to 150,000 broadband connections in the UK by mid-2011, increasing to 225,000 connections by 2012 and 300,000 connections by the end of 2014.

The satellites on offer achieve broadband speeds of up to 10Mbit/s. But the UK Space Council suggests that "substantial new investment of the order of between £1bn and £1.5bn will be required by operators and manufacturers to deliver a staged build of satellites that can deliver fast, high-capacity services with deadline downstream speeds between 20Mbps and 24Mbps".

The report insists that Broadband Delivery UK, the government body charged with delivering the UK's super-fast broadband network, needs to work closely with communities to promote the benefits of satellite broadband.

It estimates that the global market for satellite broadband services will be worth between £1.5bn and £15bn by 2030.

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