European Space Agency

Framework Support to Standardisation: Two-way Satellite Market Survey (Euroconsult)

Objectives

The primary goal of this project is to develop a detailed knowledge base with respect to the two-way satellite broadband market which will be used by ESA and its industry partners to make decisions about the evolution of various satellite communication technologies and standards.

As defined by ESA, the objectives of this study are to:

  • Characterise the different user segments by specifying a network type and traffic profile;
  • Describe the features and capabilities of two-way satellite broadband systems that are currently on the commercial market or under development;
  • Analyse the business case associated with each user segment;
  • Extract trends in the evolution of two-way satellite broadband; systems and to recommend areas for further research and development.

 

Challenges

During WP1 it was discussed that some user segments are derivatives such as multi-dwelling with enterprise. The segmentation was decided to be kept as the overall characteristics differed substantially to warrant individual focus.

In developing the business model, all user segments were analysed in a single spreadsheet for which assumptions were simplified to emphasize relationships between parameters to make the model more user friendly.

During the sensitivity analysis, there were many user segments for which there were a plethora of possible scenarios. A sampling non-exhaustive technique, that was illustrative of the key areas, was developed.

Benefits

Major benefits included a list of recommendations to ESA:

  • Noting that companies had little demand for “open standards”.
  • R&D funds should be focused on “strategic” technologies that are too expensive for small equipment vendors to develop alone.
  • Significant differences were found regarding size and growth rates of the satellite broadband user segments.
  • Some features are applicable to multiple user segments and as such these “cross-segment” technologies are highly efficient for investment.
  • Investing in technologies that address the largest user segments should enable satellite to remain competitive with terrestrial solutions.
  • Technology investments should be evaluated on the basis of total cost versus the positive impacts on the business cases and competitiveness with terrestrial alternatives.
  • Features/technologies with a positive impact on the most sensitive parts of the business models should be further scrutinized (i.e. subscription price, bandwidth usage and terminal costs).
  • Features/technologies worth examination included spread spectrum, phased array antennas, adaptive coding and modulation, higher data throughput and return link optimization.

 

Features

Work Package 1 classified two-way satellite broadband systems into fixed and mobile networks. Fixed networks comprised four user segments: Consumer, Enterprise, Multi-Dwelling and Transactional. Mobile networks included four user segments: Maritime, Aeronautical, Mobile and Transportable. For each user segment, Euroconsult described services and applications, technology trends, user requirements, network types, current offerings, average traffic profile and market forecast.

Work Package 2 focused on the features and functionalities associated with the ground segment (i.e. all network elements except the satellites). Interviews with key technology providers characterized their current commercial products in terms of cost, performance, security, reliability, compatibility, scalability, portability, interoperability and manageability. It further assessed the evolution of these features, referencing all of the technologies under consideration as part of the next generation DVB-RCS standard and ESA work plans for ground segment development. It then provided a rough qualitative assessment on how various features could influence the business models.

Work Package 3 examined the business cases for providing two-way satellite broadband services in several user segments that include: consumer (retail), consumer (wholesale), enterprise, maritime and aeronautical. These business cases were built on a number of simplifying assumptions (e.g. a subscription driven revenue model with flat rate service pricing).

Work Package 4 assessed select features for their impact on input parameters to the business model. Each input parameter affected shall have a quantitative impact of the feature estimated. Eight features were chosen for analysis: adjacent channel interference cancellation, efficient framing and encapsulation, efficient random access, adaptive coding and modulation, spread spectrum, equipment miniaturization, phased array antennas and higher data throughput.

Work Package 5 summarized all the two-way satellite market survey’s findings and provided recommendations to ESA.


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Plan

Work Packages:

  • WP1 began following the KO and was completed by the 6th week,
  • WP2 began in the 4th week and was completed by the 14th week,
  • WP3 began in the 12th week and was completed by the 18th week,
  • WP4 began in the 16thweek and was completed by the 22nd week,
  • WP5 began in the 21st week and was completed by the 24th week.

All work package outputs were merged into the final report and the executive summary was completed on the 24th week.

 

Current status

The project has been completed. All documentation has been sent to ESA including a final report containing all the outputs of the work packages and a business model that can be altered to incorporate new features/ technologies.

Status date

Thursday, August 25, 2011 - 14:16