Bandwidth demand will stoke Intelsat General growth
Company president seeks to expand federal offerings
- By David Hubler
- Oct 22, 2009
Intelsat General Corp. is seeking a wider orbit within the federal market universe by jettisoning its reputation as a global satellite company and making a name for itself as a total communications solutions provider.
“We’re looking for [federal sales] opportunities from a total end-to-end perspective,” said Kay Sears, president of Intelsat General, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intelsat Ltd. of Britain.
To maximize those opportunities, the company seeks to partner with other infrastructure providers. “An example of that would be Paradigm in the U.K.,” she said. Paradigm provides UHF and X-band services to the U.S. military and other U.S. government users.
Intelsat is partnering with Verizon Business on the Networx Enterprise contract, an agencywide telecommunications vehicle.
Sears said the Defense Department offers potential growth now that it relies on commercial suppliers such as Intelsat General for much of the backbone satellite communications infrastructure to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
DOD also has been reliant on suppliers such as Intelsat General because it is “without a clear vision of what role it was that they wanted us to play,” she said. “I think it’s more of a question of defining how they want to utilize their assets and how they want to utilize commercial assets.”
Sears told Washington Technology that there have been several high-level meetings between Intelsat executives and Air Force officers, including the secretary of the Air Force. They are helping to create a better understanding of DOD needs and future partnerships. “Very good progress was made in 2009,” she said.
“We’re asking to be a partner. We’re asking what kind of partner do you want us to be? What kind of security would you like to see? What kind of applications would you like us to serve in the future?” she added.
And because of the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, “there’s an insatiable amount of appetite for bandwidth,” she said, citing the growing use of unmanned aerial vehicles, which require tremendous amounts of bandwidth.
Sears cited recent estimates by the Defense Information Systems Agency, which said DOD spends between $500 million and $600 million a year on commercial bandwidth capacity and services.
In post-war scenarios, Sears said she foresees company revenues growing from federal civilian agencies such as the Homeland Security Department and some states that will want to take advantage of UAV capabilities.
“I do believe these surveillance platforms will become very important domestically as well,” she said. “They certainly don’t have the numbers yet that we have flying in-theater, but we will see them used to patrol the borders. You can even use them to patrol for drug trafficking.”
She added that UAVs could also assist oceanographers, meteorologists and the Coast Guard as it patrols the East and West coasts.
David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.