IBC 2017

IBC Reflections: Intelsat’s Rob Cerbone on CellSat, Prism, and How Satellite and IP Can Work Together

Joining satellite and bonded-cellular service adds the robustness needed for live sports production

In advance of IBC 2017, Intelsat revealed that it was teaming up with Dejero on a new a “blended” cellular and Ku-band IP solution that can deliver 10-Mbps signals for live television coverage from remote locations. Dubbed CellSat, the new solution proved to be a highlight of Intelsat’s booth in Amsterdam, along with Intelsat’s growing Prism IP-based service.

SVG sat down with Intelsat VP/GM, Media Services, Rob Cerbone to discuss how the sports market has reacted to CellSat, the continued evolution of Prism, the future of satellite for backhaul of live sports coverage, how satellite factors into the at-home production model, and the demand (or lack thereof thus far) for 4K and HDR transmission services.

Intelsat’s Rob Cerbone: “I think satellite will continue to play a big role in sports, particularly the higher-value events, for the foreseeable future simply because you need that robust connection that’s not a contended service.”

The big news for Intelsat at IBC 2017 is the launch of CellSat with Dejero. Tell us a bit about the product and how you see it fitting into the sports market.
CellSat is a great new product for us that adds to our IP-video portfolio. We’ve seen a lot of folks on the contribution side — in both news and sports — moving toward more cellular-based solutions that are a lot more portable in some cases. They tend to work well on a lot of [productions], but the challenge is that, for a lot of large sporting events, when you’ve a sizable number of people on their phones, the whole network gets dragged down.

So we partnered with Dejero for this CellSat product, which really joins our reliable satellite service to their bonded-cellular service and makes it a better product. It adds resiliency and robustness so you can get the kind of connectivity and throughput that you need for live sports.

Today, Dejero is focused on [achieving] a consistent 10-MBps connection, so, by bonding the satellite on top of that, we can always ensure that you’re going to get that connectivity and have the best video experience possible for those remote shoots. It’s absolutely [a great solution] for all types of sports event that take place at smaller [venues] where there isn’t fiber in there — even high schools.

[The reaction from the market] has been very good. We’ve got some clients on the sports side, but it’s a little bit more on the news side thus early on. The service we have today is primarily point-to-point, but we’re looking to extend that to point-to-multipoint in the future, and I think, when we do that, it will really get interesting in terms of sports.

Can you tell me a bit more about the market’s reaction to the launch of Prism two years ago? What are your plans regarding IP transport?
We think we’re uniquely positioned to help media companies migrate to all IP. Prism was the first all