Industry focus on satellite broadband Internet access services has progressively shifted over the last few years. North America, Western Europe, Asia, Australia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa have all at one time or another been classified as the “next big thing” for satellite broadband and high throughput satellites (HTS). And now, the industry is shifting once more with the newest target market being Russia. This was recently illustrated by the January 2013 report that RuSat was launching a new satellite broadband service to both enterprise-class and consumer-class clients based on Newtec’s latest modem and hub technology including its MDM2200 IP satellite modem product.
Turning to the central question: Is there real demand for satellite broadband access services in Russia? NSR’s latest assessment laid out in its new report is that Russia appears at first glance to offer real long-term potential. It is a single market, a geographically large country, has a still developing terrestrial network, and there is strong demand for broadband Internet access services among individuals and businesses. These factors are no doubt the main motivations behind all of the above cited deals and partnerships over the last two years.
Yet, the Russian market also remains challenging for growth of satellite broadband access services. Cost of the service and, most importantly the upfront cost of the CPE, are a major hurdle among a fair portion of the populace in the more rural parts of the nation. Further, NSR has yet to see a major ISP in Russian get truly behind the effort, and the marketing and distribution will likely be the biggest issue of all in the development of these services in the country. Still, for 2015 and beyond, NSR assumes that satellite broadband access services in the Russian market will begin to gain some traction. This is expected to drive most of the Central & Eastern European broadband access subscriber growth forecasted in the 2015-2017 period