Speedcast charting massive expansion of satellite capacity

Speedcast charting massive expansion of satellite capacity

Speedcast charting massive expansion of satellite capacity

TAMPA, Florida — Remote communications provider Speedcast is preparing to purchase another sizable chunk of satellite capacity as demand increases beyond pre-pandemic levels.

Speedcast added 13 gigabits per second (Gbps) of satellite operator capacity to its international network in late May, giving it a record 30 Gbps of bandwidth to primarily serve the cruise and energy markets.

“We’re looking at similar network growth in the coming months,” said Speedcast CEO Joe Spytek. SpaceNews.

“We expect to add another 12 Gbps of bandwidth when [cruise] ships return to the Caribbean from September, anticipating the industry’s return to full service with 100% occupancy this winter.”

He expects cruises returning to full service to demand more high-bandwidth connectivity than ever before.

speedcast also sees an increase in energy sector activity with new projects and the need for long-term contracts.

It only took about a month to complete Speedcast’s latest network expansion.

“Adding 13 Gbps to the network in this short period of time is a huge undertaking, but we have intelligent automation across our network to be able to overlay large volumes of capacity in a short period of time,” Spytek said.

However, demand for satcoms in Speedcast markets is surpassing the offer amid a lack of new geostationary satellites, according to Spytek.

Low Earth Orbit (LEO) broadband megaconstellations aim to provide a significant amount of new capacity for these connectivity markets. They also promise to bring fiber-like data speeds with low latency to all parts of the world.

But OneWeb and others that plan to sell their capacity in a wholesale business to satcom providers like Speedcast have experienced delays in deploying their networks.

Speedcast has signed up as one of the distribution partners for OneWeb’s LEO network, which is currently only available for fixed service at 50 degrees and north while waiting for resume satellite deployments this year.

“With a tighter capacity market, the OneWeb expansion offers another option in our toolkit for customers, especially as some operations and expeditions move further north and south towards the poles where GEO solutions are less viable ” Spytek said.

Speedcast installed the first OneWeb client demo antenna system in late May in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Spytek said Speedcast is also launching demo centers at other locations to show customers how its technology-independent network can weave into other emerging high-bandwidth solutions.

“As with OneWeb, there are an increasing number of communication paths, satellite orbits and unique constellations coming to market,” he said.

While SpaceX’s Starlink broadband megaconstellation has built a business around selling direct to customers, Speedcast and select customers “are actively testing Starlink services” and developing features to accommodate them on the Speedcast network.

Spytek said that “reviews to date position Starlink as a complementary service combined with our cutting-edge guaranteed yield services targeted at crew use” and other complementary services.

“That said, there is potential where we have overlapping geographies – where Starlink offers coverage and we have the right customer profile.”

Spytek said Speedcast has a mix of fixed and mobile clients slated for OneWeb trials this year.

He said OneWeb’s ability to serve mobility markets is expected by the end of 2022, with full global coverage expected by mid-2023.

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