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Broadband Industry Obstacles May Not Hinder Market Segment Growth

By | November 2, 2000

      Internet via satellite providers are hoping to mimic the direct-to-home success and some industry annalists agree that such mirroring will occur if the natural obstacles of capacity and growth are overcome.

      “There is a great potential for a DTH repeat with Internet access,” said Stephane Chenard, executive vice president and lead analyst, space and communicants for Euroconsult. “We could see anywhere from 15 million dishes worldwide in 10 years.”

      Chenard made his comments at the Space Foundation-sponsored International Space Symposium, held here last week.

      Regardless, there are some executives in the industry who are taking a more conservative route early on.

      …Watch Out For Inflated Projections

      “I would caution the industry not to get swept away with initial projections for this industry,” added David Finkelstein, senior vice president, marketing and business development for SkyBridge GP Inc. “We still have two significant obstacles to contend with: cost and capacity.”

      Walda Roseman, president of the consulting firm Compass Rose International, concurs with Finkelstein adding that the financial market is having trouble believing the explosive numbers in broadband. “It seems to me that the last mile may be a damper, but on the other hand, there may be some potential in the second and third [tier] markets worldwide.”

      Some company executives are, however, following the market projections and are hoping to meet that demand by increasing their global focus.

      “We have currently sold out our international transponder capacity in the broadband arena,” said Michael Agostinelli, president, global satellite services-IP solutions for GE Americom. “We have experienced an 80 percent growth rate in Internet applications this year and we are taking that demand into account as we furbish new satellites with more Ka-band services.” Bob Berry, chairman of Space Systems/Loral [LOR], however acknowledges that satellites will be the link for that last mile and businesses can be successful if focus is especially paid to those undeserved markets.

      “The downfall of conventional broadband services leaves many wanting but not being able to obtain service,” Berry said. “The more capacity and the faster speeds will keep things in the industry going.”

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