Forecast: HTS capacity supply to grow at “torrid pace”
March 24, 2022
Facilitating this growth are non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) broadband constellations, which are projected to account for nearly 90 per cent of capacity supply in 2026, a marked contrast to the historically dominant market share of supply held by GEO-HTS systems.
Recent NGSO momentum has been underpinned by the aggressive launch campaign of SpaceX’s Starlink LEO constellation, which nearly single-handedly led to a 350 per cent expansion of global HTS capacity supply in 2021 alone after entering initial operational status. While other NGSO constellations have faced a mix of development and launch delays, OneWeb and SES (O3b mPOWER) are poised to enter initial service in 2022.
Euroconsult notes that NGSO supply figures, despite being adjusted to reflect sellable capacity (as opposed to notional aggregate constellation capacity), must be treated with caution as not all projected capacity can be immediately exploited due to lagging national market access authorizations and gradual gateway deployments.
Faced with the on-going shift in capital towards NGSO broadband constellations, the GEO-HTS segment will continue its growth, albeit at a more moderate pace. In response to market uncertainty caused in part by NGSO and large-scale GEO-VHTS systems such as Viasat-3 and Eutelsat Konnect, GEO-HTS operators have responded by adopting software-defined satellite architectures to help reduce market risk and improve agility. Fully software-defined satellite platforms from manufacturers such as Airbus, Thales and new entrant Astranis have accounted for over 50 per cent of GEO-HTS orders over the 2019-21 period and more than 80 per cent of GEO-HTS orders in 2021 alone.
“High throughput satellite technology has never been better positioned to help bridge the rural digital divide through a combination of innovation and scale, notably through NGSO (non-geostationary) constellation architectures,” said Brent Prokosh, Senior Affiliate Consultant at Euroconsult. “This in turn will drive significant improvements in the value and performance of satellite broadband services”.
Overall, Euroconsult’s analysis suggests that business is booming for HTS. Global capacity demand is projected to average 28 per cent on a compound annual basis through 2030, with the consumer broadband segment poised to account for nearly 60 per cent of net capacity growth globally.
Next-generation HTS technology is driving material improvements to the performance and value of satellite broadband offerings that will not only disrupt legacy satellite services, but expand the addressable market for HTS by improving competitiveness against rural terrestrial alternatives such as mobile hotspots and aging DSL infrastructure.
From a regional perspective, Euroconsult expect that HTS demand growth will be spread more evenly rather than the more concentrated and localized historical expansion, notably due to the ubiquitous nature of NGSO constellations which serve all regions. For example, North America, which accounts for 50 per cent of HTS capacity demand as of 2021, is projected to account for just 33 per cent of global demand by 2030.