Report Provides Technical Review of Satellite Communications Capabilities and Limitations for Voice and Broadband Data Services


For Immediate Release

Contact: Laura Withers, 703-351-2087, lwithers@ntca.org


Study highlights that satellite limitations affect access to high-quality communications and ability to handle increasing capacity demands 

ARLINGTON, Va. (November 7, 2013) – While satellite communications continue to play an important role in the delivery of video services, limitations such as latency and weather interference will hinder widespread reliance on satellite technology for next-generation communications services as demand for capacity increases, according to a technical report issued today by telecommunications engineering and consulting firm Vantage Point Solutions.

The study, which was filed today with the FCC by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association (NTCA), the premier national association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies, reviews the possible uses and limitations of satellite-based communications as national demands for broadband capacity continue to grow. Vantage Point studied recent advances in satellite capacity, finding that despite improvements, satellite services will still face significant, service-affecting technical challenges in terms of latency, jitter, capacity and speed, especially when compared with modern fixed wireline technologies.

Among the report’s key findings are:

  • Latency: Satellite communications typically suffer from high levels of latency because the most common satellites used for the delivery of fixed broadband services are located more than 22,000 miles above the Earth, causing latency that is more than 20 times the latency of typical landline communications. 
  • Capacity limitations: Satellite broadband services have significant capacity constraints, as a limited amount of spectrum is shared by all satellite users. 
  • Environmental impacts: Frequencies used by satellite communications are susceptible to outages caused by weather disruptions during heavy rain, ice, snow and sun interference.

“Satellite communications face real challenges when used to deliver voice and broadband data services,” said Larry Thompson, P.E., Vantage Point Solutions’ chief executive officer and the report’s chief author. “With this study, we highlight the fact that limitations, such as latency and weather interference, continue to serve as significant deterrents to satellites taking the place of more reliable terrestrial networks which are better suited to withstand increasing capacity demands and provide high quality real-time, two-way voice and data communications.”

The full report is available here.  

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About NTCA

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. In an era of exploding technology, deregulation and marketplace competition, NTCA’s members are leading the IP evolution for rural consumers, delivering technologies that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development and commerce, education, health care, government services, security and smart energy use. Visit us at www.ntca.org.

About Vantage Point Solutions

Vantage Point Solutions (VPS) is a leading telecommunications engineering and consulting company, providing services to more than 300 companies across the United States. VPS offers a comprehensive line of services, blending technology, regulatory expertise and financial advice into one attractive package. In addition to a full line of professional engineering services, including both wireless and wireline engineering, VPS provides a full range of financial and regulatory services. VPS has helped hundreds of telecommunication companies be successful in today’s rapidly changing technical and regulatory environment and led them in their transition from legacy TDM networks to broadband IP networks.  Visit us at www.vantagepnt.com.