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Satellite operator SES’s new CEO, Karim Michel Sabbagh, in a major speech at the CASBAA Satellite Industry Forum in Singapore, said that despite pay-TV DTH being challenged in some markets by IP-based and OTT supply of programming, there remained many reasons to be optimistic (about satellite).
“The consumer is jumping into 4K,” he said. “Simulcasting will be an opportunity for us. In mature markets, there are still opportunities which have not been seized. In developing markets, there is no legacy of fixed networks. Even fibre today is not providing a full solution,” said Sabbagh. “In the World Cup, OTT players have not been able to cope with bandwidth pressure. This is an example where satellite technology can help. We are moving to a more mature video environment.”
Sabbagh also spoke about the data environment, saying that despite the growing proliferation of fibre, satellite had a clear role to play. He spoke about Europe and the goal of having 50 per cent of households in the European Union connected at speeds above 100 Mbps and the other 50 per cent to have an above 30 Mbps broadband connection by 2020, but said such targets are unrealistic. “Europe is not going to get there,” he argued, and stated that this was a “mission impossible” task. “I come from the telecoms world. Satellite answers two weaknesses: the reach and the quality of the experience,” which are the main obstacles for the EU’s goals.