SES' JP Hemingway on satellites' role in the digital divide, D2D and disasters

WASHINGTON – At last week's Satellite 2023 show, one of the topics on everyone's mind was the future of direct-to-device (D2D) communications. But at least one global satellite operator, SES, is taking a wait-and-see approach.

"We're watching that space really carefully. We're not active in it today," said SES Chief Strategy Officer JP Hemingway in a conversation with Light Reading. "I think the things that need to get sorted are the investment model," as well as potential business models, he said. "I don't think emergency SOS text is what this is all about."

We also caught up with Hemingway about SES' deployments of middle-Earth orbit (MEO) and geostationary (GEO) satellite connectivity to unserved global communities, how to accelerate stable satellite deployments in disaster zones and much more.

Here are some topics discussed in this conversation:

  • Brief update on SES' mPower O3b constellation, "coming to market in Q3" (0:21)
  • Why SES is waiting before entering the D2D space (2:00)
  • Where and how SES is delivering satellite coverage to unserved communities (4:25)
  • How modern satellite connectivity compares to fiber (6:40)
  • How SES works with telco partners to deliver connectivity to disaster zones (10:00)

For a lightly edited conversation transcript, click the caption button on the video player above.

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Nicole Ferraro, editor, Light Reading, and host of "​​The Divide" on the Light Reading Podcast.

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