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VSAT Based Consumer Broadband

Although the VSAT industry has undergone difficult times with faltering growth and several failed attempts to bring in two-way broadband services in the recent past, a new report released by Strategy Analytics predicts that current broadband VSAT system rollouts will stimulate demand for GaAs devices from a previously moribund market.

The VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) market is largely controlled by a handful of players, with Hughes Network Systems and Gilat being the most significant. Both companies are at advanced stages of introducing broadband services, with one competitor, WildBlue, already in operation and taking customers. GaAs, in both discrete and integrated form, is enabling the move to higher frequencies as mature, high power/high frequency processes become available for mass production at a price point that can be accepted by VSAT designers.

"This is a complex market in which VSAT manufacturers are re-positioning themselves as full line service providers," according to Asif Anwar, Director of the Strategy Analytics GaAs service. "GaAs is a crucial element of these vendors' plans, particularly for the power amplifier function. With the VSAT terminal market in the hands of a few key players, opportunities are limited, but nevertheless, profitable."

"GaAs, as a technology, has dominated VSAT RF sub-systems since the inception of this market some 15 years ago," observes Stephen Entwistle, Vice President, Strategic Technologies Practice. "But we are beginning to see developments in alternative technologies, such as GaN and SiGe, that could provide competition for GaAs in the future."

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