Intelsat’s submission to the FCC for its transition plan explains that its client list – in normal non-Covid times – requires a large slice of capacity to support Occasional Use (OU) and Contribution services.
In 2019, without the problems of Covid-19, amounted to some 20 transponders-worth of bandwidth at maximum demand and supporting 16,000 C-band service reservations for sports, news and special events during the year.
There are also demands on Intelsat for back-up “Restoration Services” which “ensure that Contribution or Distribution services have continuity should a satellite suffer a transponder or payload failure, or a terrestrial network anomaly occurs.”
Intelsat adds: “Restoration services are critical services integrated into the Galaxy fleet to ensure service/business continuity and to protect the enterprise value of Intelsat’s customers. Restoration services are contracted for, paid for, and provided as part of the cable distribution service bundle and similarly, to broadcaster and data network customers as well. Customers that desire this service have historically relied on and will continue relying on the continuity of their services, pre-planning the go-to locations with their earth stations for service restoration and on near real time or swift implementation of restoration to minimise any service disruptions.”
Intelsat explained to the FCC that while it is conforming with the FCC’s order to clear spectrum in an accelerated timeline and at the same time provide “same or better” services to its clients, it has to balance a range of requirements.
– Focus on use of existing ‘penetrated’ orbital locations.
– Prioritise CONUS services on the upper 200 MHz and transition non-CONUS services to the lower 300 MHz.
– Replace Galaxy satellites at penetrated orbital locations and deploy compression to customer services where it materially reduces going-forward capacity and allows programming to fit within the top 200 MHz.
– Simplify many replacement C-band satellite payloads to ten transponders, while building a minority of C-band payloads with 24 transponders for Alaska, Hawaii, and off-shore applications.
– Maintain proven component, system, satellite, and in-orbit redundancies to meet contracted service levels of 99.999 percent availability or greater.