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Why optical fiber has the advantage over satellite networks

Why optical fiber has the advantage over satellite networks

Development in the satellite telecommunications sector is in the process of resuming projects from the end of the last century which have not had the expected success.

Will they have more chances to succeed this time around?

OneWeb was taken over by the British government because of Brexit and the need to have their sovereignty over the navigation system. Even if allied with the USA, they prefer to have their own system different from Gallilo and GPS.

At the technical level, if we talk about OneWeb, the network will allow a traffic capacity of 4Tbps for an investment of 2 billion dollars. It is obvious that it will take time for these networks to be able to compete with fiber optics. Comparatively to optical fiber, the cables can have up to 24 pairs of fibers and a capacity of 18Tbps and, as an example, the cost of selling a fiber line between India and Europe is less than 60 million dollars. In addition, the lifespan is 20 years or more.

On the other hand, these networks will create a serious challenge for the sovereignty of the states which will lose total control over the traffic exchanged on networks managed currently by companies affiliated to powerful states. In addition, its low-altitude satellites could be used for military needs providing global coverage surveillance thanks to the technological development of HD cameras that could be installed on the satellites.The race started by rich people who have accumulated unparalleled wealth and for whom a few billion dollars means nothing.In addition, satellite solutions can play a role in the field of Internet of Things (IoT), M2M, Edge computing, … for specific applications where RTD is crucial.Finally, the success of Oneweb’s satellite networks would be more guaranteed through a complementarity that the Indian mobile operator Bharti want to put in place and who is one of the biggest contributors on Oneweb. As a reminder, the British government and the Indian telephone operator Bharti Global Limited bought OneWeb in 2020 for a billion dollars. With a constellation that should eventually include more than 650 satellites in low orbit, OneWeb wants to provide high-speed internet access to the entire planet. The launch of the first 6 satellites took place on February 27, 2019. The others are in progress.

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