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Scenes from the Satellite ShowScenes from the Satellite Show

The Satellite Show 2020 was a hardware-centric haven that reveled in the more grounded side of the new space race.

Phil Harvey

March 13, 2020

13 Slides

Like a lot of things in recent days, the Satellite Show in Washington DC, ended earlier than planned as the DC health department, on Wednesday, recommended that all events over 1,000 people be postponed due to the spread of COVID-19.

From the stage, the satellite provider executives were eager to discuss 5G, but not as a big threat to their existing broadband businesses.

At first, 5G will simply be a money-spinner for satellite backhaul, according to Pradman Kaul, CEO of the Echostar subsidiary Hughes Network Systems. "The number of cells will increase dramatically, and it should result in this backhaul business growing significantly, and satellites can do that as good as any other technique, any other technology," Kaul said during the Tuesday morning panel keynote.

"Clearly, it's going to be a competitor to our satellite business," Kaul said, but noted that in the next five years, he believed that most investment would be in high-density cells and in covering densely populated cities. "We're focused on the unserved and the underserved markets and we'll continue to do that and, while 5G will encroach on it and some on the edges, I still think there's enough of a business in the unserved and underserved markets, satellite world," he said.

Outside of the big speeches, there was a lot of big hardware on the show floor and some good gimmicks as well. Here's a sample of what we saw in the not-too-densely populated show, as the event's attendance looked to be about half of its expected number of around 15,000 people.

Click on the photo below to launch the "slideshow":

Figure 1: We have liftoff! SpaceX sponsored a coffee counter outside the main registration area and it was easily the most popular stand at the whole show. SpaceX sponsored a coffee counter outside the main registration area and it was easily the most popular stand at the whole show.

Or click here to see the images on a single page. And wash your hands when you're done.

Phil Harvey, US Bureau Chief, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Phil Harvey

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Phil Harvey is the Editor-in-Chief of Light Reading. He (barely) manages editorial operations and news coverage for the Light Reading network's digital properties, including Light Reading, The 5G Exchange, Connecting Africa, Telecoms.com and Broadband World News.

Phil rejoined Light Reading in 2018; he's been a member of the LR editorial staff for a combined 15 years. In between stints at Light Reading, he was the news editor at CRN and, before that, the communications director at Metaswitch Networks. During the late 90s, Phil covered networking and telecom in Silicon Valley as a staff writer at Upside (R.I.P.) and (the original) Red Herring magazine.

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