European Space Agency

Multimedia Terrestrial Infrastructure / Services Evolution and the Role of Satellites


Multimedia is inducing a change in our behaviors, e-mail and web browsing becoming part of everyday life for study and for play, around the planet. The fact that IP runs over virtually any transmission media and can communicate between virtually any platform is certainly an integration factor. It is why the assessment of multimedia services market is key to the Alcatel group business.

Today US still dominates in terms of millions of users (Gartner Group) as well as in terms of Internet hosts. However, the rest of the world is picking up very fast and a number of features play a role in the success of the development of these new multimedia services. They pertain to social, economical, commercial and technical aspects, but also, and there has always been an important factor in the telecommunications and in the broadcast world, to political and regulatory aspects.

As far as enablers for bearer services are concerned, there is an increasing need for network applications, the end-user applications having to be supported by appropriate value-added network applications to enable network operators to make a business case out of the provision of bearer services to the different market segments.

Multimedia services may first emerge for local business and community use when trading with industrialized countries:

  • providing access to worldwide markets for selling locally produced goods

  • opening direct sales channels increasing margin to supplier

  • supporting new economic sectors like tourism or banking


Key issues for this study are:

  • Strategy, marketing and sales: Market positioning and offer content New sales channels approach

  • Service evolution Bandwidth management (BoD, LCR, ) Growth of data intensive applications Quality of service/service level

  • agreement Network interconnectivity End to end solutions ("seamless") and any to any (multi-x) Network "bottlenecks"

  • Existing network evolution Converged data and circuit service. Convergence (voice/data, fixed/mobile, ) Flexibility to tailor service bundling

  • Cost Cost-competitive solutions to end-user


The project should enable a complete understanding of the key trends and markets of the present and next generation of multimedia services. Expected recommendations will focus on:

  • Identifying candidate multimedia services to be developed/enhanced with eventually new identified techniques.

  • Quantification of the market opportunity both for terrestrial and satellite technology

  • Technical and commercial performance of every most promising satellite technology to be supported by the Agency and including:


  • Level of confidence

  • Level of acceptance of each new technology


  • Development scenarios for each identified key technology in order to make the deployment scenarios really happen and in particular for:


  • Enabling protocols on current satellite systems. In particular, the technologies enabling content

  • New infrastructures such as on-board technologies and low cost terminals.

Therefore, the project should identify possible European strategy in the field of multimedia services alongside with the key technologies that would have to be supported. The role of ESA and other national agencies will be clearly identified.




The study logic makes sense to review the market for multimedia services in the broad sense, the foreseeable terrestrial means to deliver and the place of the satellite.

The first part of the study is devoted to the overview of the multimedia services market, through both internal Alcatel and external resources. Indeed, this study also calls upon the Jupiter group market analysts. Other Business Divisions of Alcatel, dealing in all telecommunications networks specialties will contribute on demand for the bearer service and infrastructure market assessment.

Then, the means to render the services are analyzed, in terms of architectures and networks, as well as the competition in that field, and the related performance and grade of service issues will be addressed. Technologies enabling the services are also addressed, both for terrestrial and satellite.

Finally, satellite platform typologies and related network architectures are reviewed to come up to a set of recommendations for satellite integration in the multimedia services bearer networks.

The following work break down is applied:



Current status

The study started on April 2001 and was concluded early 2002.

  • 13 services were highlighted and classified in three main categories: Video delivery services (Broadcast/Datacast, iTV and VOD, IP Multicast, Streaming video), Network services (CDN, VPN, Internet Access, Networking & Communication, e-Commerce, Hosting) and Entertainment services (Games, Audio/Music and Advertising).

  • Broadband Terrestrial deployment and prices were presented with SWOT analysis between various access technologies.

  • Four satellite scenarios were identified to scope with the service classification.

  • Two based on current technology and 2 others based on flexibility and capacity convergence. Low cost satellite terminal is one of the key elements.



Status date

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - 11:26