Key Takeaways from VSAT Global Forum

20 Sep 2018

Access Partnership’s Director of Technical Advisory and Regulatory Engineering, Colin Thomson, chaired the second day of the VSAT Global Forum in London on 20 September, while Senior Consultant Daphné Joseph spoke on the regulatory trends in satellite connectivity. 

The event kicked off with a presentation from Max Kamenetsky, Senior Product Manager at Alphabet subsidiary Loon, on their plans for a network of high-altitude balloons to deliver Internet connectivity to rural and underserved areas around the world.  Loon balloons are powered entirely by solar power and travel approximately 20 km above the Earth’s surface. Ultimately, Loon’s primary objective is to partner with mobile network operators to provide mobile Internet access for the unconnected. 

In a panel discussion on AI and cybersecurity, Professor Prashant Pillai from the University of Wolverhampton spoke about the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) for securing end-to-end satellite networks and network management. These emerging technologies enable computers to collate and manipulate a vast amount of data, identify relationships, and resolve problems quickly. Professor Pillai also discussed cybersecurity concerns and measures for satellite technology, which is increasingly targeted by hackers. 

Access Partnership’s Daphné Joseph delivered a strong presentation on the regulatory and market access challenges posed by local licensing requirements in providing satellite connectivity. While Europe has trended towards harmonisation and deregulation, with certain frequencies more likely to be exempted, in the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean, companies wanting  to operate earth stations must meet high standards — including as homologations and authorisations — to operate frequencies or equipment. 

Not meeting these high standards could lead to various penalties, delays in operations, or even equipment seizures. Satellite providers and service operators can mitigate these risks by identifying the regulatory landscape for shipping, operations, site locations, fees, and licence requirements well before beginning operation. To help you navigate through the regulatory channels, Access Partnership has built and maintains a database of international regulatory requirements for over 200 jurisdictions. 

The event ended with a panel on the future of the satellite industry. Maria Kalama, Satellite Lead at InnovateUK, and David Jowsey, Senior Product Manager of Satellite Networks at BT, said that the satellite industry will continue to thrive as long as it keeps up with the pace of innovation. With the growing demand for connectivity, industry actors can benefit from partnerships to promote new technology (such as HAPS), ensure appropriate spectrum allocation, and secure regulatory compliance.  

Download Daphné Joseph’s presentation here.

Download infographic: Cost and timeframes for obtaining a VSAT licence. 

Author: Ivan Ivanov, Marketing Manager, Access Partnership