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APAC to witness increased satellite usage: CASBAA Satellite Industry Forum 2015

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MUMBAI: On 1 June, more than 150 industry speakers and delegates gathered at Grand Hyatt Singapore for the Satellite Industry Forum 2015. This year’s CASBAA event included a number of keynotes and panels exploring the question, “Is the satellite game changing?”

Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler gave an opening keynote outlining the wave of changes currently affecting the satellite sector. Technological progress is increasing competition and generating  shifts  in  consumption  patterns,  and  he  emphasized  the  ever-growing  need  to innovate in order to keep up. “To compete, we need to improve performance, economics, and accessibility,” he said.

Top executives then shared their insights on incoming industry trends during the Asia Pacific Satellite Leadership Round Table. The panel members were optimistic about opportunities for increased satellite usage in the Asia Pacific region, but also saw regulatory challenges ahead for efforts to consolidate. ABS co-founder & CEO Thomas Choi commented, “As long as regulations don’t change, consolidation will not happen.”

In the next panel, Game Changers?, several officials executing “left field” satellite projects spoke on how these developments will impact the industry. Each panelist described their business ventures and their relevance to the Asia Pacific.

With the advancement of technology also comes new forms of content distribution such as OTT and IPTV. The third panel, Staring the Future of TV in the Face – A Watershed for the Satellite Industry?, discussed the distinct preferences of millennia’s and how these consumers could be captured in the satellite industry, as well as debated the importance of on-demand vs. linear television.

Eutelsat Chairman  &  CEO Michel  de  Rosen delivered  an  emphatic  speech  to  engage delegates with the issue of protection of C-band for exclusive satellite industry use at the upcoming World Radio communication Conference 2015 (WRC ’15). In the face of the pending legislative change, which would transfer more spectrum to mobile service providers, he asserted the need for a unified front to protect the industry. “It’s a collective challenge as an industry,” he said. “If we don’t fight it today, they will only be back for more tomorrow.”

The following panel discussed in more detail the steps to be taken before the WRC ‘15. “We must convince the government of the important usage of C-band,” said Ali Ebadi, SVP, Space Systems Development, MEASAT.

Regulations  aren’t  the  only  obstacle  satellite  service  providers  face;  at  the  same  time, customers are also raising their expectations.  Another set of panelists discussed cost-effective provision of service in Reducing Costs for Consumers: Are High Throughput Satellites the Answer? “Customers will expect more and more without expecting to pay more,” commented Viasat programme manager Erwin Hudson,

The discussion was followed by an interview with Myanmar’s ICT Deputy Minister for U Thaung Tin. He described the current state of satellite in Myanmar, as well as national goals to develop the domestic industry and institutional challenges that must be met.

To close the forum, the final panel answered questions about the next 10-15 years for the satellite industry, expressing optimism for the development of new technology and the continued robustness of satellite in the Asia-Pacific market.

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