Home Telecoms & NBN IPSTAR: world’s first High Throughput Satellite celebrates 10 years

10 years ago, an IPSTAR was born, Thaicom’s world-first High Throughput Satellite (HTS) and one of the catalysts of the huge shifts in the satellite industry. Thailand’s IPSTAR satellite is currently used for the NBN’s interim satellite service.

When it was launched in 2005, Thaicom notes that ‘IPSTAR was the heaviest commercial GEO satellite ever orbited with a launch mass of nearly 6,500 kg. It was also the first satellite to achieve a maximum 45 Gbps of capacity and was one of the first commercial satellites to use electric propulsion.’

Since that time, Thaicom says IPSTAR has been ‘Asia-Pacific’s leading broadband satellite platform and service’, which Thaicom naturally talks up as underlining its ‘innovative and pioneering role in the satellite industry’.

As its name suggests, IPSTAR was designed for high-speed, two-way broadband communication over an IP platform, and it provides coverage over most of Asia-Pacific via multiple narrowly focused spot beams.

As is typical of HTS, explains Thaicom, ‘IPSTAR is capable of maximising the available frequency for transmission and increases bandwidth by a factor of twenty when compared to traditional Ku-band satellites, resulting in more efficient operations.’

Thaicom CEO, Suphajee Suthumpun, said IPSTAR ‘kick-started a massive shift in the satellite industry and satellites’ capabilities, enabling new services, like the provision of high-speed broadband to previously underserved and unserved areas.’

Suthumpun said: “Since the launch of IPSTAR, HTS has proven its staying-power with widespread use in a variety of broadband applications and, even after ten years, remains more relevant than ever.

“With HTS having grown so popular, the satellite market must continue to evolve through the influence of new technology.”

Thaicom talks up IPSTAR’s ‘successful track record of providing the region’s telecom industry, businesses, homes and government administrations with cost-effective satellite broadband access, capacity and services’ and the satellite’s ability to have ‘helped remove distance barriers in Asia-Pacific.’

We’re also reminded that the satellite has ‘provided critical services such as Internet and telephone communications after numerous disasters, including the devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011 and both the China and Christchurch earthquakes, among others.’

So, what about today?

Well, we’re told that ‘variations in HTS architecture mean the range of applications it is used for is expanding. Traditionally, broadband via HTS was targeted at consumers in rural and remote areas. While this remains a key area, the last few years have brought about an increasing trend of HTS being used to provide connectivity in schools, on trains and buses and even for maritime crews and airline passengers.’

Thaicom CEO Suthumpun concluded: “Operators should expect to see increased demand for HTS in the future as consumers’ expectations for fast, ubiquitous and cost-effective connectivity continue to grow.

“At Thaicom, we are pleased to have made such a significant contribution to this new era of satellite communications and remain committed to supporting what looks like a very bright future for HTS – both for the next ten years, and beyond.”

Thaicom IPSTAR has an Australian operation too, its website is here

Here's IPSTAR's promotional video from a few years ago:

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