A webcast organised by the Asia-Pacific Satellite Communications Council heard some negative comments on the likely impact of Low Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites.
Most of the criticism came from operators of geostationary satellites. For example, Hispasat’s CTO Antonio Abad Martin spoke extensively about the business model in place for geostationary (GEO) operators, and said they remain protected because of their strong consumer video and broadband activity.
He stressed that regions outside of North America and Europe will remain solid customers for their DTH transmissions for many years ahead. He said that he didn’t see how LEO constellations would compete with GEO in residential broadband. He argued that a LEO system’s currently extremely expensive LEO ground systems and modems can compete with the cost of geostationary ground terminals of less than $300 while LEO terminals are $3,000. He admitted that the $3,000 price would fall but there would always be a difference between a terminal that points to a fixed position and one that needs two receivers to move fast to track satellites.
He also warned that the potential markets for mobility users, not least aircraft and maritime, would not be early adopters of the services of SpaceX and OneWeb because they could not currently supply inter-satellite links when an aircraft or ship is over or on the ocean.