What are the satcom opportunities for Europe's newest members? A new ESA funded study is investigating the market potential for broadcast and broadband services.
The study is being conducted in two phases by Lapp-Hancock Associates Ltd. of Canada and aims to identify opportunities for European Union satellite operators and service providers in all countries of the new European Union accession states.
The countries included in the study are The Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, The Slovak Republic and Slovenia, as well as the non-accession states of Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria and Turkey.
The purpose of the study is to look at the possibility of expanding the telecom market to Eastern Europe. Lapp-Hancock Associates are looking at the affordability of satellite TV programs and of broadband access via satellite especially DVB-RCS for ADSL types of services.
The compilation of demographic information made up part of the first phase and showed that satellite broadband would be more marketable in countries with higher populations. It was also necessary to determine what current service providers offer in terms of telecommunications, at what price and what kind of service. Furthermore, it examined the feasibility of the delivery of broadband services and determined the market potential for ADSL services. Another part of the first phase was to assess the state of the telecommunications infrastructure with some surprising results.
So far, the most important fact to come from the study is the discrepancies between countries. The level of current Internet use is highly disparate. Estonia, for example, has long had a government-sponsored program to bring ICT into common use. Currently 67% of Estonian civil servants use Internet on a daily basis. Under a project called 'Tiger Leap' Estonia has managed to establish Internet connectivity which rivals (and in many cases exceeds) many West European countries. Another important point is that because the cost of implementation is lower, geographically smaller countries are more suited to terrestrial networks. For this reason most of them were excluded from the second phase.
The six countries included in the second phase are Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. The last three, though not accession states show promising results. All of these countries possess a less developed terrestrial infrastructure. The comparable cost of implementing satcom solutions versus new digital telephony for ADSL makes them good candidates for satellite broadband.
The unique feature of this study is the extensive program of actual face-to-face interviews with telecom operators, service providers, local institutions and ministries. These interviews are determining the level of need for telecom services and to which extent satellite based system are suitable.
When completed the study will be the first ESA study and most comprehensive work on satcom opportunities for Europe's newest member states. To view the project page click on the link provided on the right of this page.