Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Forsway Next Gen (Hybrid Networks for Global Internet Access)
Reporting period: 2019-06-01 to 2019-11-30
The ‘problem terrain’ of technical or economic connectivity is found outside urban and suburban population concentrations, not just in the developing world but also in pockets in even the most developed countries. Satellites can provide coverage virtually everywhere, but current solutions remain too expensive for widespread two-way communication. However, satellite downlinks can be combined with lower capacity, but cheaper, other solutions (primarily Mobile), to form more affordable Hybrid Networks.
Forsway, Europe’s leading hybrid network solution provider, has developed a unique broadband communications solution, combining existing satellite and terrestrial (e. g. mobile, ADSL) services to provide affordable digital broadband access. Our Xtend solution can bridge the digital divide now, rather than when new infrastructure (often expensive, fibre based) projects are ready – if they at all will be implemented in some underserved areas.
In this Phase 1 Feasibility Study, we have examined the commercial viability of our Forsway Next Generation “Xtend” Hybrid broadband solution. Our existing and inbound customers have expressed enhanced requirements to meet the rapidly changing satcom market. To realise the full potential of our solution we need to a) move up the value chain to a broader solution platform, b) integrate new innovation and features, c) achieve an optimised market and product positioning. We have validated both the commercial/market feasibility and economic/financial feasibility of Forsway’s NextGen Xtend in extensive consultation with customers, end users, operators, and other industry stakeholders and experts.
Our study supports the feasibility of our objective of deploying one million Hybrid Broadband Connections (HBC) globally in the next five years (by 2025). With each HBC serving multiple individuals, this will result in bridging the digital divide for millions of people, creating huge economic and societal value in the underserviced markets of emerging economies in the developing world, as well as rural and remote regions in the developed world. It will generate substantial revenue for us, create almost 30 new jobs (mostly in Europe) and advance European leadership in Hybrid Communications. It will also create a further 200 indirect job opportunities globally, many of them in emerging economies.
We took part in at least one global industry event (show, exhibition, conference) each month, and visited customers, prospects, and stakeholders in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia. We discussed technical and financial details of our current Xtend system; customer use cases; the requirements and technical elements to be integrated into the Next Gen Xtend solution, and customer value perception and willingness to pay for our enhanced solution.
As a result of this study, we have updated our commercial and financial plans to ensure the financial, personnel, and other resources are in place for a strong market validation and market entry in the next 5 years. We also engaged customers with small scale pilots for features (10) and secured support for larger evaluation and validation activities in commercial trials from several prominent potential customers.
However, the total solution, including advanced traffic shaping, management, inter-work with billing / CRM and several interfaces to new technologies, is not yet at TRL 8 or 9.
The innovative elements we wish to integrate into the Next Gen Xtend solution currently exist in various forms and TRLs, and the goal of the next phase of our Next Gen project is to integrate these and validate the operation of the whole system in commercial trials, bringing the total system to TRL8 within 24 months, and a strong market validation and market entry in the next 5 years.
Elements advancing the state of the art include enhanced NFV (Network Functions Virtualization), augmented software defined networking, and extending hybrid capability to integrate both 5G and upcoming new LEO/MEO satcoms constellations such as OneWeb, Starlink, Amazon, etc.
We provide a key enabling technology to address the UN and EU Sustainable Development Goals. Our objective is to deploy one million Hybrid Broadband Connections (HBC) globally in the next five years (by 2025). With each HBC serving multiple individuals, this will result in bridging the digital divide for millions of people, creating huge economic and societal value in the underserviced markets of emerging economies in the developing world, as well as rural and remote regions in the developed world.