Speedcast plotting major satellite capacity expansion

TAMPA, Fla. — Remote communications provider Speedcast is preparing to buy another sizable chunk of satellite capacity as demand soars beyond pre-pandemic levels.

Speedcast added 13 gigabits per second (Gbps) of capacity from satellite operators to its international network in late May, giving it a record 30 Gbps of bandwidth to primarily serve cruise and energy markets. 

“We’re looking at similar network growth over the coming months,” Speedcast CEO Joe Spytek told SpaceNews.

“We expect to add another 12 Gbps of bandwidth when [cruise] ships return to the Caribbean beginning in September, in anticipation of the industry returning to full service at 100% occupancy this winter.”

He expects cruise ships will return to full service with more demand for high-bandwidth connectivity than before, and said Speedcast also sees increased activity from the energy sector with new projects and a need for longer-term contracts. 

It took only about a month to complete Speedcast’s latest network expansion.

“Adding 13 Gbps to the network in that short timeframe is a huge undertaking, but we’ve got the intelligent automation in place across our network to be able to layer in high volumes of capacity in a short timeframe,” Spytek said.

However, demand for satcoms in Speedcast’s markets is outstripping supply amid a lack of new geostationary satellites, according Spytek.

Low Earth orbit (LEO) broadband megaconstellations aim to deliver a significant amount of new capacity for these connectivity markets. They also promise to bring fiber-like data speeds with low latency to every part of the world.

But OneWeb and others planning on selling their capacity on a wholesale business to satcom providers like Speedcast have suffered delays in deploying their networks.

Speedcast has signed up as one of the distribution partners for OneWeb’s LEO network, which is currently only available for fixed services at 50 degrees and north while it waits to 

Read more at spacenews.com

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