Evaluating a satellite broadband concept for the European Space Agency

Project experience | Strategy

The problem

The European Space Agency selected a consortium led by Analysys Mason to undertake an ARTES-1 study to evaluate a novel enhanced ADSL concept involving the use of a one-way satellite connection to improve the performance of the ADSL downlink.

The solution

Working with our partners, satellite operator Avanti plc and hybrid modem developer Forsway AB, we estimated the number of ADSL lines in Europe that could expect a significant speed boost from satellite enhancement, examined the key issues involved in integrating satellite and ADSL networks, proposed and costed a preliminary design for the hybrid network, identified the potential impact that such an approach might have on the value chain and on the overall telecoms market, identified the benefits of the hybrid compared to terrestrial-only and satellite-only solutions, and proposed a road map for further technology development, validation, early introduction and full-scale deployment of the hybrid solution.

The result

We estimated that by 2020 around 2.4 million households in Europe would benefit from a hybrid solution that increased download speeds to 2Mbit/s, while around 10 million households would benefit from a 10Mbit/s solution. We recognised that a larger number of households could benefit if the ADSL downlink capacity freed up by the use of satellite could be used to provide greater uplink capacity. However, this would require significant changes to currently deployed ADSL equipment and we did not think this was viable given our assessment of the market size. Based on our design concept we estimated that the installed cost of the hybrid customer premises equipment (CPE) could be 40% to 50% less than the equivalent bi-directional satellite CPE. The study also found that the use of hybrid technology could lower the amount of satellite bandwidth required at peak times compared to a bi-directional satellite solution and thus reduce monthly costs by 20% to 40%. The complete findings were presented to the European Space Agency and to a wider audience at an ARTES 1 open day seminar.