Smaller, non-geostationary satellites will add more than 25 Terabytes/second of additional capacity over the next 10 years according to a report by Northern Sky Research (NSR). In a world where a 50 or 100 Gb/s of Ethernet traffic is considered fast enough, Terabyte speeds are truly electric given their 1000 x 1 Gb/s capacity.
NSR says that these non-Geo satellites will also be generating annual revenues of $4 billion by 2027.
These new networks are offering a new set of attributes for customers such as low latency, full mesh connectivity, or high-bandwidth per terminal, and will be key to unlocking new greenfield markets. However, NSR adds that the concepts are not without risk, saying the CAPEX exposure is massive, and new revenue drivers might not be enough to pay back initial investments. “Consequently, there is a risk of price disruption for the entire industry if these new players dump capacity to poach customers from legacy verticals.”
And as readers will have noted over the past week with rumours of OneWeb’s current challenges, NSR says the “moment of truth” is approaching for these new constellations. “According to their schedule, LEOs need to start offering concrete examples of progress, but results are still mixed,” notes Lluc Palerm, NSR Senior Analyst and report author. “Funding is still far from resolved and even the ones that have already attracted billions in investment still do not have a clear path to service. Delays and cost overruns plague many programs. Regulatory challenges are coming to light with first denials of access to key markets. Technology wise, there are still many questions to answer, beginning with user terminals. On the other side, progress continues in the form of testing satellites, new rounds of funding and establishment of baseband networks.”