The global space-based broadband internet market size was valued at USD 9,664.82 million in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 52,309.93 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 20.64% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
The space-based broadband internet technology is gaining massive traction from governments and commercial consumers due to the increase in demand for round-the-clock connectivity solutions for various applications. Though the current telecommunications technology has developed several tools and systems to deliver state-of-the-art solutions, they often get the backlash against their lack of serviceability for remote locations and unstable connections due to harsh weather conditions. However, with the help of space-based broadband internet, the companies have focused on developing alternatives to provide sufficient and stable signals to ensure data services to hard-to-reach areas.
The satellite internet allows connectivity without any ground infrastructure to access the internet service. The internet service provider using communication satellites is known as space-based broadband internet. The significant development was the creation of the internet and the world wide web, resulting in the future use of geostationary satellites to deliver internet access. Since then, several businesses have shown the use of high-capacity satellites to provide broadband internet services from space.
Technological Advancements toward Developing Next-Generation Communication Satellite Constellations
The latest technological advancements in the miniaturization of components have led to the evolution of microsatellites and nanosatellites. The key manufacturers widely develop these satellites in the space-based broadband internet market. The newer technology is a cost-effective alternative for satellite developers to manufacture multiple satellites for the LEO constellations. One of the earliest challenges for space organizations to launch various satellites was the high cost per launch. For several years, the space launch services were the main reason restricting satellite industry growth.
Additionally, the cost associated with launch has decreased significantly over the years due to the advancements of several technologies in the field of propulsion and maneuverability. Several commercial companies have been designing and developing launch vehicles that use a combination of fuels and designs to reduce the cost of space launch vehicles. Apart from the major players, other commercial companies such as Rocket Lab and Astra are developing low-cost reusable launch services, which could be a huge growth opportunity for the smaller companies to enter the space-based broadband market and expand their business operations, fueling the global market growth.
Increasing Demand for Worldwide Broadband Internet Access for Information, Entertainment, and Commerce
Satellites play an important role in deploying 5G services due to their ability to cover large areas compared to terrestrial systems and the capacity to simultaneously deliver services to several users for information, entertainment, and commerce. The terrestrial 5G services are expected to be deployed gradually, starting from large cities and then slowly to other areas with lower populations. However, the services can provide uniform coverage over vast areas with the aid of satellites.
Some key vertical applications that rely on the global space-based broadband internet market include transport and logistics, mobile communications, disaster relief or emergency response, network offloading, broadband connectivity in remote locations, Internet of Things (IoT), and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications among others. The increase in satellite connectivity solutions and high-speed uninterrupted 5G/6G data transmission has impacted the application of artificial intelligence and IoT globally, driving market growth.
High Initial Investment Cost of Equipment
Individual end-users who use satellite connectivity services must pay a significant amount upfront since they must purchase and set up antennas and modems to access the satellite internet. The investment costs, especially for the individual end users, are very high compared to conventional services. For instance, in July 2021, Swarm Technologies launched its USD 499 evaluation kit, including Swarm Tile, modem device, small solar panel, VHF antenna, Feather S2 development board, and an OLED from Adafruit. In addition, in August 2021, SpaceX announced that the Starlink satellite internet service gained 90,000 users. The cost of these antennas and transceivers is expected to decrease with increased subscribers. Still, most people cannot access the satellite internet due to the high initial investment costs, hampering the market growth.
Building a Hyper-Connected World with Reliable Connectivity
The satellite connection services can be utilized by various mobile and fixed devices anywhere. The space-based broadband internet can be accessed on airborne mobile devices, such as helicopters, commercial aircraft, or marine vehicles such as yachts, fishing boats, surveying boats, oil rigs, and container ships, or ground vehicles such as vans, trains, logistic delivery vehicles, and smart electric vehicles. In addition, the services can be accessed by fixed assets such as enterprises, buildings, houses, and connected smart cities. The same space-based system can serve all the fixed and mobile platforms instead of using numerous modems for each platform.
Various governments have widely accepted space-based broadband internet services, and several contracts and memoranda of understanding (MoUs) have been signed with commercial companies to digitalize the economies of developing nations. One of the main advantages of space-based broadband internet is that, unlike conventional terrestrial connectivity, the internet connectivity service through satellites does not require infrastructure such as signal towers and optical cables between the source and the end users. Therefore, most companies are looking to tap this substantial opportunistic market.
The global space-based broadband internet market is bifurcated into frequency, orbit, component, application, and end-user.
Based on frequency, the global space-based broadband internet market is bifurcated into Ka, Ku, and K bands, C and X bands, and S and L bands.
The Ka, Ku, and K band segment dominates the global market and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 20.0% over the forecast period. The Kurz-under (Ku), Kurz (K), and Kurz-above (Ka) designations include frequencies of 13 to 18 GHz, 18 to 27 GHz, and 27 to 40 GHz, respectively. This frequency segment is expected to have the highest market share during the forecast period due to its vast advantage of large bandwidth. With the help of high throughput satellites (HSAs), they are anticipated to have higher penetration rates than the other segments.
Based on orbit, the global space-based broadband internet market is divided into low earth orbit (LEO), medium earth orbit (MEO), and geostationary earth orbit (GEO).
The LEO segment is the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 22.44% over the forecast period. The LEO has an altitude range of 160 kilometers to 1,000 kilometers from Earth. The LEO constellation offers faster communication, has lower latency than the other orbits, and provides higher bandwidth per user than copper, cable, and pre-5G fixed wireless systems. Communication through LEO satellites requires more spacecraft to have global coverage. The signals from LEO satellites in space are more viable as they can overcome obstacles fiber-optic cables face.
Based on components, the global space-based broadband internet market is divided into satellites, gateways, and antenna dishes and modems.
The satellite segment owns the highest market share and is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 19.89% over the forecast period. The satellites are marketed as the center of the new broadband internet networks. These new satellites designed, developed, and built primarily for broadband applications use several narrow spot beams that target a small area compared to broad beams used by communication satellites. With the help of these narrow spot beams, the satellites reuse the assigned bandwidth multiple times to achieve higher capacities than conventional broad-beam satellites.
Based on application, the global space-based broadband internet market is bifurcated into agriculture, maritime, aviation, enterprise, data and telecommunication, logistics and transportation, and others.
The data and telecommunication segment is the highest contributor to the market and is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 16.81% over the forecast period. With the help of satellite connectivity, internet service providers can deliver cost-effective solutions enabling economically viable infrastructure for underserved communities. LEO has provided low latency, low-cost backhaul links to cover 4G LTE, 5G, and IoT data access for the global market. Satellite internet services for data and telecommunication have evolved over the years to bridge the gap for the people living outside the cable and fiber zone.
Based on the end-user, the global space-based broadband internet market is bifurcated into commercial, defense and government, and individual users.
The commercial segment dominates the global market and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 21.55% during the forecast period. The commercial end-user of the space-based broadband internet market includes manufacturers of commercial airplanes, private companies working on developing spacecraft and launch vehicles, logistics and transportation, and large industries. The commercial end-user market is enormous, with unlimited opportunities to grow due to increased demand for smart and connected systems in everyday life. With the introduction of EVs in most countries, the need for interconnected technology through satellite broadband and 5G services is expected to increase over the coming years.
Based on region, the global space-based broadband internet market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest-of-the-World.
North America is the most significant global space-based broadband internet market shareholder and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.40% over the forecast period. The U.S. is the most prominent country globally and has a massive share in the global space-based broadband internet market. The North American region dominates the global space-based broadband internet market, with huge investments and revenue expected to be generated from this region. Canada and the U.S. governments have been investing heavily to provide internet connectivity through satellites for rural and remote areas. Therefore, the revenue generated from this region is expected to grow drastically in the coming years. In addition, the companies are designing and developing products and solutions to meet market needs. Amazon – Project Kuiper Hughes Network Systems, LLC, ST Engineering iDirect, Inc., Starlink, Swarm Technologies, Inc., Telesat, and Viasat, Inc. are some of the key players in the region. Further, the region is one of the most technologically advanced regions in the world, and the growing space programs will increase the demand for space-based broadband internet technology.
Asia-Pacific is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 25.11% over the forecast period. The increase in demand for sophisticated internet services in the region is one of the driving forces for several companies to expand their operations there. The companies in the region have diverse product portfolios. These companies have invested in developing space-based broadband internet that simulates high-speed data transfer depending on the applications and end users. China and India are leading the market in the region by bringing innovative technologies in space-based broadband internet technology. In addition, the government initiatives to digitalize the economies have been a key factor for the increase in developments by numerous companies in this region. However, the countries in the Asia-Pacific region need more players to meet the enormous demands of China and India. Therefore, the market share of the region at the global level could be higher, which has hindered the growth of the market.
Europe has several vital companies that design and manufacture products for the space industry and supply them to companies worldwide. The European Space Agency (ESA) has been engaged with numerous satellite companies and partnered with other government bodies to demonstrate the capabilities of space-based broadband internet technology. The region has the second-highest number of operating satellites in space. In addition, the countries in the region have been focusing on developing eco-friendly services that do not negatively impact the environment. U.K., Germany, and France have many manufacturing, research, and development centers to create innovative solutions for market needs. Furthermore, Europe has been playing a significant role in the market by developing high-speed space-based broadband internet, launching platforms, and ground infrastructure, among others. The countries in the Europe region have a large number of manufacturing and R&D plants to develop numerous innovative products and services, thereby boosting the European market growth.
The rest of the world comprises regions: Latin America and the Middle East and Africa. The countries in the Latin America region are launching the next generation of satellites for various applications such as earth observation, remote sensing, and telecommunication. Though the market is in this region's research and development stage, governments and space agencies are slowly investing in this technology to tap new opportunities. In addition, the Middle East and Africa region has been investing heavily in the space sector to meet the increase in demand for high-speed broadband connectivity, even in the remotest of areas. These regions have some of the hardest-to-reach locations. For instance, the Sahara Desert in northern Africa, vast forest regions of middle and southern Africa, and the drylands of the Middle East regions make it very expensive to construct terrestrial infrastructure. Thus, space-based broadband internet services are expected to grow in this region.
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