Forecast: Satellite broadband SAM in 330m premises by 2026

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According to global technology intelligence firm ABI Research, the serviceable addressable market (SAM) for global satellite broadband over geostationary (GEO), medium earth orbit (MEO), and low earth orbit (LEO) satellites will stand at 330 million premises, equivalent to 1.3 billion household members in 2026.

SAM has grown by 5.3 per cent compared to 2021. Fibre-optic deployment continues, as does 5G and 4G coverage. However, they are still insufficient to address consumer, business, and Small Office/Home Office (SoHo) premises’ wide-ranging broadband needs as populations and economies continue to grow. As the world’s economy becomes increasingly reliant on broadband communications, there is mounting pressure on telecom service providers to provide resilient broadband and additional capacity for all geographic locations within their markets. Satellite communications support a “Network of Network” solution, augmenting existing network communications systems such as mobile cellular and fibre-optic, enabling greater resiliency and on-demand capacity boosts.

“Even with the proliferation of mobile and fixed broadband access throughout the globe, there is still a significant portion of the population, mostly in rural areas, that suffers from poor coverage or is not covered at all by terrestrial forms of broadband,” explains Jun Wei Ee, research analyst at ABI Research. “Satellite communications — over GEO, MEO and LEO — can help operators fill the coverage gap, ultimately providing reliable connectivity for premises that will not have access to fibre-optic or reliable 5G coverage.”

In addition to providing direct satellite broadband access, satellite communication providers also can play a crucial role in supporting backhaul traffic from mobile cellular base stations. Constellations of GEO, MEO, and LEO satellites provide ubiquitous and dense coverage while remaining secure and readily available in cases of network outages. With mobile cellular subscriptions forecasted to grow to 8.8 billion by 2026, satellite communication firms can support and contribute to this growth by providing coverage for rural communities and help “top up” capacity in suburban areas which do not have access to high-capacity fibre-optic or 5G infrastructure.

The rise of Software Defined Satellite Networks, Software Defined Networking, and Network Function Virtualization will further enable synergies between satellite constellations and seamless integration of satellite communications into the unified network infrastructure across connectivity technologies.

“There is an enduring need for GEO satellites’ ubiquitous cover synergizing with MEO and LEO high throughput and low latency. As satellite network technologies continue to evolve and are integrated with terrestrial technologies, telecom operators will be better equipped and more agile in providing broadband connectivity to its growing and diverse customer base,” adds Jake Saunders, report research manager and vice-president at ABI Research.


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