Aircraft maker Boeing has officially announced that it is looking clinch a deal this year to build a high-throughput communications satellite for top technology companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon or Facebook. Jim Simpson, the vice president of business development and chief strategist for Boeing Network and Space Systems, has told Reuters that the big technology firms were “keen to expand Internet access around the world to help them grow”.
While Mr. Simpson didn’t give specific details about discussions with the tech companies, he said that the challenge was to drive down the cost of satellite communications to be more in line with terrestrial costs, “which would help the tech firms justify the expense of building a larger communications satellite”. Speaking with Reuters at the Satellite 2015 conference, he said that “the real key to being able to do these type of things is ultra high-throughput capabilities, where we’re looking at providing gigabytes, terrabytes, petabytes of capability”.
However, if sufficient demand failed to materialize, the tech companies would be left with the cost of a really high performance satellite, he added.
“Mark Spiwak, president of Boeing Satellite Systems International, said he expected demand for GEO satellites to remain steady at about two dozen a year, but he said those satellites would clearly need to have greater processing power and larger bandwidth, given rising demand for global connectivity. He said GEO satellites were larger and more expensive, but they would save the cost of more frequent maintenance and launch costs for a large network of low-earth orbit satellites”.
Boeing has also said that it is ready to build LEO satellites as well, depending on customer preference.