Satmex (Eutelsat) – Hosted Payload for Canadian Ku-beam on the E115WB

Satmex (Eutelsat) – Hosted Payload for Canadian Ku-beam on the E115WB

As Hunter’s efforts tend to span many different areas within the satellite industry – from mobile aero and maritime networks to land-based commercial and government requirements, as well as video applications, Hunter is often consulted by satellite operators on beam designs for future satellites as part of the operator’s planning process.

In 2012, Satmex engaged Hunter in those discussions about their intended Satmex-7 satellite (since renamed as the E115WB). Hunter recognized an opportunity for Satmex to consider establishing a beam over Canada.  With Hunter’s experience establishing networks with small sub-1 meter antennas – and in particular aero requirements that can use antennas as small as 30cm, the firm recognized a unique attribute of the Satmex-7 satellite.  It would effectively provide a 4 degree orbit environment over Canadian airspace.  Knowing the regulatory agreements between Satmex and its neighbors, Hunter recognized that such that a beam would result in any antenna receiving or transmitting essentially no interference to the adjacent satellites.  The cost benefit of this technical detail is significant, resulting in an 8x to 12x improvement in cost per Mbps in many cases.

Initially Hunter’s intention was to encourage Satmex to design and launch the beam, with Hunter having an interest to market the capacity in Canada.  However, with the timing not right for the operator – citing concerns over the regulatory environment in Canada, the smaller expected market potential compared to the US, and a desire to limit capital and risk – Satmex decided not to include any Ku-band beam over the entirety of North America.  At this point, Hunter stepped in to design and negotiate for the purchase and lease of the Canadian beam as a hosted payload within the Satmex-7 (E115WB) satellite.

The expectations of new business opportunities proved to be correct.  Since the launch of the beam in late 2015, Hunter is providing the majority of all internet access and live entertainment for commercial aircraft transiting Canadian airspace, has serviced multiple vessels sailing through the Northwest Passage, provided numerous mine and oil drilling sites with enterprise data access, and is establishing a video neighborhood of content after securing the distribution business from the CBC/Radio-Canada.

Hunter continues to explore Hosted Payload opportunities throughout the world, through its agreements with both satellite operators and manufacturers.

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