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Satellite IP migration gathers pace

Satellite operators are under pressure to migrate to IP transmission by competition from terrestrial fiber-based IP networks and demand from broadcasters for the flexibility this gives to run voice, video and data applications on the one network. This in turn benefits the broadcasters' customers, the consumers, who have just one vendor to deal with and get a single bill. Furthermore, migration to IP opens up new markets for satellite operators. There is increased use of IP-over-satellite for news gathering contribution, and there are an expanding range of consumer IP devices capable of accessing TV services.

These factors were being cited by Belgian satcom company Newtec at Broadcast as reasons for migrating to IP, in presentations to industry leaders. Newtec claimed there was rapidly increasing interest across Asia in broadcasting systems that utilise IP connectivity.

Newtec argued that IP satellite would increase audience reach and advertising revenues through being able to offer extra services over multiple platforms like Internet, VOD, IPTV and DTT. At the same time it would lower operational costs and make satellite more competitive against fixed-line terrestrial networks.

Newtec also argued that broadband over satellite still had great potential to connect communities in regions where there is not yet much terrestrial infrastructure of any kind. This is particularly the case in parts of Asia where economic growth is outstripping infrastructure development.

Almost the opposite applies in some other regions, including parts of Eastern Europe, where economic growth has been sluggish until recently and has actually been stimulated in some cases by new communications infrastructure.