Starting in the 1980s, VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) technology using private networks has been key to the development of satellite data transmission. Currently, however, audiovisual broadcasting and distribution are the main sources of income for satellite operators and will remain so for many years to come.
Recent technological developments in satellite design are providing an opening for satellites to penetrate two new digital connectivity market segments:
- high-speed fixed Internet access (very high-speed by around 2020), as a complement to coverage provided by terrestrial infrastructure;
- connectivity offers for travellers, in particular at present for ship or aircraft passengers.
Other means of transport will be following suit, such as railways: on certain lines (Thalys for instance) commercial services have already been available for several years although this is not the general case as yet. In the 2/2.2 GHz range, where ground antenna pointing is not as critical as for other frequency bands, the entry into service of two satellites covering Europe towards the end of 2016 or early in 2017 could mean new offers for trains and also, probably, for road vehicles.
Fixed broadband Internet access, such as the connectivity on offer for users of public transport, will benefit from ANFR’s European and global work on earth stations in motion during WRC-19 and the securing of required frequencies in the 30/20 GHz range.