Home >> September 2015 Edition >> Flex For Better SATCOM
Flex For Better SATCOM
By Kay Sears, President, Intelsat General Corp.


Similar to many people, I have a smartphone that I use for email, texting, phone calls and many other daily tasks. 

However, truth be told, most of the time the device is in my purse or pocket, standing by for when I next need to use the phone. However, I pay a fixed monthly fee for talk minutes and data, whether I use the phone or not. Plus, if I travel to a different country, the price of using the phone on a new network goes up quite dramatically.

In many ways, the satellite business has followed this cell-phone-carrier pricing model: the customer leases a fixed amount of transponder capacity covering a certain geographic area, and pays whether the bandwidth is used or not. Intelsat announced recently that the company would like to change that practice with IntelsatOne Flex.

IntelsatOne Flex is a new service that could be of great benefit to the government and commercial user in these budget restrictive times and the needs of ever-more-mobile customers.

IntelsatOne Flex is a customizable service that will bring together the new Intelsat EpicNG high-throughput satellites (HTS), Intelsat’s existing Ku-band fleet, the company’s global ground network, and optimized iDirect Velocity terminals into a unified ecosystem. 

Flex creates a global platform for small, geographically dispersed mobile terminals that will integrate the multi-spot-beam EpicNG platform into a customer’s existing infrastructure and address inefficient bandwidth scaling on a customer’s network.

Flex will allow customers to:

• Simplify the integration of EpicNG HTS into current wide-beam network designs
• Customize, contend, prioritize and shape bandwidth for end-user segments
• Choose among tiered plans to meet average and peak bandwidth requirements
• Quickly and easily scale services to meet surge requirements or geographic shifts in demand

In mobile applications, we have found that many government and commercial customers experience a wide gap between their average and their peak bandwidth demand, yet they often base contract requirements on expected peak demand. The Flex service will take this into account by pricing services based on both the average and the maximum level of service.

By using a centralized network management system, Intelsat will be able to monitor the utilization for each customer and add MHz capacity to “pinch-points” on a global basis across all vertical markets. This will add bandwidth where needed to create an enterprise-grade quality of service for each customer.

The network management system will also allow us to guarantee throughput for high-priority applications like emergency response or other mission-critical activities.

Commercial availability of Flex is tied to the Intelsat EpicNG launch program. The first EpicNG satellite (IS-29e) is expected to go into service in March/April of 2016, kicking off the first phase of the Flex service.

Intelsat will then launch additional EpicNG satellites throughout 2016/2017 and all will be included in this service offering. Wide beam satellites will augment the network for additional coverage on a customer-by-customer basis, starting with full North Atlantic coverage via the upcoming IS-34 satellite, set for launch in August.

The new Flex service is another example of how Intelsat General continually strives to adjust our service offerings to fit the ever-evolving requirements of the government and commercial customer. Additional details of how the service will operate will be provided as the 2016 implementation date draws closer.

www.intelsat.com/ + www.intelsatgeneral.com/

Kay Sears, President of Intelsat General, is responsible for implementing the company’s strategic and operational plans and for the overall mission of providing a range of sustainable, cost-effective and secure communications solutions to government and commercial customers. She has worked more than 25 years in the satellite communications industry, including extensive experience in rapid-response solutions for both military and civil agencies of the US government. Ms. Sears has spoken widely on how commercial satellites can be utilized by the military to solve mission-critical needs and she has worked over the past several years to advance the commercial / DoD partnership.

In 2009, Ms. Sears was appointed to the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) to provide information, technical expertise, advice and guidance regarding issues that may affect national security telecommunications capabilities. Before joining Intelsat, Ms. Sears helped launch government services business units at both G2 Satellite Solutions and Verestar. Ms. Sears has also held sales and product development positions with Intelsat and Comsat World Systems.