INTERNET BY SATELLITE UP 54 PER CENT

By | May 23, 2001 | Feature

Despite the downturn in the so-called dot.com ‘boom’, the past four years has seen internet traffic using satellite grow by an average of 56 per cent a year, says a major study from DTT Consulting. The author (and former Interspace editor Roger Stanyard) says that while the more outrageous forecasts have not been sustained, there has been solid growth in the industry. He also adds that: “it will take about 20 years for the Internet revolution to go through its full course, and in 2001 we are only about five to six years into that period. The progress over the last year may have disappointed the dot.com sector but generally it has been very impressive [for satellite operators].”

The four-volume study (Internet by Satellite 2001) examines the sector in considerable detail, looking at individual service providers as well as a country-by-country analysis of trends and usage.

The report has plenty of headlines, and analysis, not least the impressive value of ISP-based transponder leases within the four identified sectors (ISP Links, Hybred Access, 2-way, Distribution/caching), which over the past four years is expressed as $109 million, $271 million, $848 million and $1.3 billion.

However, the report also stresses the changes taking place. This includes the “Eastward” growth of fibre optic infrastructure in Europe and the CIS, “which is leading ISPs to abandon their point-to-point satellite links to backbone.” Overall, Stanyard says, “ISPs in Western Europe now look to have almost totally abandoned the use of satellites for such links. Their use was always somewhat limited – 30-40 mostly tiny ISP operations in France, some larger users in Spain, four ISPs in the UK, one in Ireland, two in Gibraltar and possibly two or three in Austria, Italy and Portugal. It remains possible that a few satellite links remain as backups.”

“The one country that has not seen significant use of satellites relative to its size is Russia. This largely reflects the backwardness of the country outside of Moscow, St Petersburg and their hinterlands,” says the report.

Using ‘trace route’ analysis, DTT have come up with some interesting observations about normally ultra-confidential capacity usage. The report takes a global view, but amongst some European capacity providers, it states:

  • Teleglobe Canada has never publicised the now heavy use of its Frankfurt Teleport for ISP links
  • Another secretive provider of satellite links is a company called Skyvision, which is UK-based but appears to be connected to Israeli ISP Netvision.
  • Satellite Media Services has also built up a big market share in Eastern Europe (and Turkey)
  • Europe*Star is a new market entrant but it appears that quite a lot of its point-to-point users are connecting to the Middle East and Asia rather than Europe and the CIS
  • Following Verestar’s purchase of both Interpacket and Swisscom’s FSS teleport facilities, it seems that Verestar has switched its uplinks from the UK (where it appears to have used BT Martelsham and NTL) to the Swisscom facilities.
Internet-by-Satellite: Market split and growth rate

Jan 1998
Jan 1999
Jan 2000
April 2001
Growth Rate %
ISP links
33
93.7
263.3
392.7
49.1%
Hybrid Access Services
13.5
19.63
39.46
47.12
19.4%
Two-Way Access Services
0
0
4
32.87
721.8%
Content Distribution, Caching & Usenet
0
0.68
7.4
15.89
114.7%
Total
46.5
114.01
314.16
488.58
55.5%
Data: DTT Consulting 2001

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