- How is the year 2023 going thus far? What are some of the highlights for Spacebridge since last year’s CABSAT?
I am pleased to announce that 2023 has been a successful year thus far for our company. We have achieved several significant milestones, including the signing of important contracts with government and commercial partners, as well as the expansion of our global footprint through strategic partnerships and collaborations. We have not yet reached the midpoint of the year however our backlog is already doubled with respect to 2022.
Additionally, we have continued to invest in the development of innovative technologies and solutions to meet the evolving needs of our customers and the industry as a whole. This includes advancements in our next-generation baseband platform, integration in the cloud and implementation of 5G protocols, among other developments.
This past January marked the 5th anniversary of selling the Advantech Wireless business and with it, our non-compete came to the end. We are happy to be back in one of our main areas of expertise: the High-Power Amplifiers and BUCs. To this extent, we already started the production of medium to high power BUCs in different frequencies. This includes the extended and planned bands, based on the latest solid state process developments and enhancements.
Despite facing challenges and obstacles along the way, our team has remained committed to driving cutting edge technology and achieving our goals. Our VSAT platform exhibits an outstanding performance in terms of efficiency and capabilities. Overall, we are optimistic about the future and confident in our ability to deliver value to our stakeholders. We thrive on making a positive impact on the world through our work in the fundamental ground segment infrastructure for connectivity everywhere.
- Please tell us about your partnership with SkyNet de Colombia? How will Spacebridge support SkyNet; please tell us about the network you will be supporting and the equipment you will provide.
SkyNet de Colombia, one of Colombia’s leading satellite telecommunications service providers, selected SpaceBridge to modernize its ground equipment infrastructure.
SkyNet ran a rigorous evaluation process where the SpaceBridge ASAT II platform was chosen for its ability to meet the needs of the most demanding customers. SpaceBridge supplied SkyNet de Colombia with its VSAT satellite platform ASAT II, which enables the use of open standards DVB-S2X on the Forward Link and DVB-RCS2 on the Return Link, resulting in a significant overall improvement in spectral efficiency of the network. This provides substantial OPEX savings, making SkyNet more competitive and capable of facing new challenges in the current satellite market.
The SpaceBridge ASAT II platform enables SkyNet to run multi-service applications, including 3G/4G and 5G Cellular Backhaul, which is one of Colombia’s high-growth vertical targets. SpaceBridge’s WaveSwitch™ system provides the real-time, on-the-fly Return Link orchestration that optimizes performance.
I am very pleased with the partnership, as SpaceBridge’s technological excellence and unparalleled customer support provide key elements for the success of SkyNet’s high standards of quality of service and customer satisfaction. The ASAT II platform will provide cost effective, efficient and secure corporate branch connectivity, mobile backhaul, and mission-critical services. This will be fully operational before June 2023, using high-throughput C and Ku-band satellites.
- Some of our readers would also be interested in learning about your partnership with nexTenna™. What is the vision behind this partnership and what target market are you looking to address?
NexTenna has their Electronically Steerable Phased Array Antennas (ESA) in Ku and Ka-bands. The partnership between SpaceBridge and nexTenna™ aims to develop a new line of wireless communication systems targeting IoT, mobility IoT, broadband, fixed broadband solutions for consumer, enterprise, military and law enforcement services. The goal is to create a new paradigm in how these markets are addressed by integrating the SpaceBridge U7720 modem into various nexTenna™ antennas, optimally defined to tackle specific verticals, including Communications-On-The-Pause (COTP) and Communications-On-The Move (COTM) markets. This includes different antennas targeted and priced for different applications, such as nexTenna™ LEO IoT, nexTenna™ V for vehicles, and nexTenna™ LEO Home for fixed consumer and enterprise users.
The partnership will significantly reduce rollout costs and eliminate one of the main impediments to rapid deployment. The unique and cost-effective combination of SpaceBridge’s latest baseband equipment and nexTenna™ ESA technology will allow User Terminals equipped with the nexTenna™ to become an essential element of our ASAT II platform.
The additional advantage of the new User Terminals is the seamless on-the-fly switching between GEO and other NGSO constellations and their respective orbits.
- Please tell us about your latest success in the Defense and Government sector? Do you have any success stories to share?
The Defense and Government sector is very important for SpaceBridge, as this is a large portion of our business and success. We have many projects in Europe, Middle East, North and South America, and Asia with Army, Air Forces, Navy, Police and many other Government departments offering our unique ASAT II and WaveSwitchTM platforms, Hubs and User Terminals.
The SpaceBridge VSAT platform can operate as a simple Star, Star-in-Star and combined Star and Mesh network topology. Our Defense customers learned the value of our award winning WaveSwitchTM technology. This allows them to not have to book the SCPC capacity in advance, as our User Terminal can always switch to SCPC waveforms, when needed, based on the predefined traffic triggers, or for a scheduled event. For mission critical applications, our VSAT platform with proper system design achieves and exceeds 99.999% field proven operational availability on any satellite.
I am proud to say that we have achieved several notable successes in the Defense and Government sector. One of our most significant achievements as a company has been the successful deployment of our satellite communications solutions to support military and government operations around the world. As a matter of fact, we just received the news that SpaceBridge has been selected as one of the world’s “Top Satellite Solutions Provider” in this sector, and we should be receiving the details of this very important recognition in the upcoming months.
Due to the sensitive and confidential nature of the contracts with governments, especially in the defense sector, I cannot reveal specific country names or entities. What I can share is that we have recently secured several important contracts with government agencies and defense contractors, which are a testament of the quality, reliability and effectiveness of our solutions. We are in the middle of the implementation of several full turnkey projects for government entities in Asia that we were awarded. We continue providing support for several of our systems that have been deployed to North America, as well as other government projects in South America. Additionally, SpaceBridge has also been awarded contracts for turnkey satellite ground infrastructure for the Armies of two very notable countries in South America and Asia.
Overall, we are excited about the opportunities ahead and look forward to continuing to serve the needs of our Defense and Government customers with the highest level of quality, reliability and innovation.
- How do you see the growth in the Middle East and Asian satellite market over the past few years? What is the importance of this market to your organization?
The demand for services is rapidly increasing in both the Middle East and Asia. This trend has been fueled, in part, by recent global events such as wars, natural disasters, and the recent pandemic. We expect this growth trajectory to persist over the next several years.
In the Middle East, there has been a surge in demand for satellite communication solutions, driven by the region’s rapidly expanding economies and the increasing need for reliable and secure communication infrastructure. This has presented significant opportunities for our organization, as we have been able to leverage our expertise in satellite technology to provide innovative solutions to meet the region’s needs.
Similarly, in Asia, we have seen strong growth in the satellite market fueled by the region’s dynamic telecommunications sector and the increasing demand for high speed, reliable connectivity. Our organization has been at the forefront of this growth, working closely with customers in the region to develop and deliver cutting-edge satellite communication solutions that meet their specific requirements.
Given the importance of these markets to our organization, in the past several years, we have made significant investments in both regions, including the expansion of our commercial presence and forging of strategic partnerships with strong local players. We strongly believe that this long-term commitment will enable us to continue to grow our business in these regions and provide customers with the best possible cost and performance services and solutions.
Overall, we see tremendous growth potential in the Middle East and Asian markets, and remain committed to leveraging our expertise and resources to capitalize on these opportunities and continue to deliver superior value to our customers in these regions.
- Are you looking to expand into any new markets or verticals in the near future?
We recently made significant progress towards this goal by signing several new sales representation agreements. These agreements will enable us to introduce SpaceBridge products and services through the entire Middle East, Sub-Sahara Africa, Pakistan, India, Mainland Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim countries, where we previously had a limited presence.
While we believe that exploring new markets and verticals should be part of a growth strategy that values calculated risk and innovation, we recognize that it is equally important to increase our market share, while also focusing on deepening the relationships with our existing customers.
We firmly believe that adopting a balanced approach that encompasses both market expansion and increasing market share is essential to achieving our growth objectives. Nonetheless, we recognize that our existing customer relationships are of utmost importance and will remain our core focus, as we pursue our growth strategy. Through this approach, we aim to create sustainable, long-term value for our stakeholders while ensuring that we maintain our commitments to our valued customers.
- Last question: In your opinion, what will be the biggest driver of demand for satellite services during the next two years?
While it’s difficult to predict the future with certainty, it’s clear that the growth of satellite services will be driven by a combination of factors. In my view, two key factors that will play a major role in this growth are the Government sector and Mobile Operators. These entities have the potential to significantly impact the demand for satellite services, making them vital players in shaping the future of the industry.
In this case, I will define the government sector composed of two distinct areas that are significant consumers of satellite services. One area would be projects usually run by the Ministry of Communications, such as, universal connectivity projects, also known as Universal Service Obligation, “connecting the unconnected”, “rural school projects”.
The second area is projects run by the Ministry of Defense such as, homeland security, and connectivity for the Army, Navy and Air Forces. This sector has become increasingly reliant on satellite technology due to the escalation of tensions and security issues worldwide. As a crucial component of their communication infrastructure, militaries worldwide have had to increase their budgets for satellite technology.
I believe that Mobile Operators are the main drivers of applications that are increasingly demanding significant amounts of new and additional satellite services. The 5G roll-out brings an increasing demand for satellite capacity, particularly in rural or remote areas, where ground-based infrastructure may not be available or cost effective.
In addition to traditional cellular backhaul requirements, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of remote work and learning, resulting in a surge in demand for satellite capacity for video conferencing, virtual classrooms, and other collaboration tools. As people continue to relocate from major metropolitan areas to more rural locations, the need for connectivity in these areas will only increase. Mobile Operators have a vital role to play in meeting this demand for connectivity.
In summary, based on the main drivers of satellite services as I see them, it is clear that several of these solutions can be delivered more efficiently and cost-effectively through various orbits than what we have typically seen with traditional GEO constellations. As a result, we can expect a shift in satellite services consumption towards new players in the satellite arena. This shift is driven by the ability of these players to offer superior technical and economic solutions for a range of use cases.