Satellite broadband services are available to households and businesses in all 50 states, and offerings include up to 100 megabits per second, exceeding the FCC’s minimum broadband speeds (25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload).
There are approximately two million U.S. satellite broadband subscribers today. The industry is rapidly expanding in capacity and speed, providing services at price points comparable to terrestrial offerings. Geostationary satellites have rapidly increased throughput, from 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) in 2008, to 260 Gbps today, and anticipate 1000 Gbps by the end of the decade. Multiple providers are planning to launch thousands of new non-geostationary satellites into Low-Earth and Medium-Earth orbits to provide low-latency broadband.
Satellites will play a major role in the 5G ecosystem, with ubiquitous coverage and resiliency to physical attacks and natural disasters. Satellites provide communications on the move today to vehicles, which will become of greater importance as vehicles become more intertwined in the Internet of Things and require constant connectivity and updates while on the move. Hybrid multi-play will use satellites for high bit backhaul for multicasting the same content over large coverage areas. Backhauling and tower feed can provide additional capacity to overloaded cell towers and locally cache content, while trunking and head-end feed can provide service to remote areas and special events.
It is critical for policymakers, in creating policies regarding broadband access and spectrum rights, to remember that broadband is a combination of evolving performance characteristics, based on technologies and applications consumers want and use, not a fixed definition. A technology-neutrality policy approach will allow solutions most responsive to consumer needs and preferences to succeed.
The Satellite Industry Association (SIA) is a U.S.-based trade association representing the leading satellite operators, manufacturers, launch providers, and ground equipment suppliers who serve commercial, civil, and military markets. Since its creation almost twenty years ago, SIA has been the unified voice of the U.S. satellite industry on policy, regulatory, and legislative issues affecting the satellite business. SIA represents the satellite broadband industry, whose capabilities can be summarized as follows:
Satellite broadband is available today
Satellite broadband is expanding and improving
Satellite services use spectrum efficiently
Broadband is an evolving service, and not technology-specific
Satellite services are a domestic economic driver
Read testimonies from Tom Stroup, President of Satellite Industry Association
The Race to 5G: Exploring Spectrum Needs to Maintain U.S. Global Leadership
Realizing the Benefits of Rural Broadband: Challenges and Solutions