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GEO satellites provide coverage of a wide area from a relatively fixed position, making them ideal for broadcast applications to multiple downlink sites, as well as for networking services to widely dispersed corporate and government facilities. Video distribution, point-to-point video feeds, also known as “backhauls,” and Direct-To-Home (DTH) television services represented three-quarters of total satellite services revenues in 2007.
From a sidebar — The geographical reach of VSAT technology was a prime reason why Bob Evans Farms deployed a 481-site network. The national restaurant chain teamed with Spacenet to link its retail stores and corporate headquarters to an always-on IP VSAT service. And the network was up and running in five weeks. The company looked into frame relay, DSL and ISDN service options, but chose a VSAT network because it was the only technology that could reach all locations and was the most cost-effective.
Satellites also provide mobile telephony services. Satellite mobile telephony enables regional to near-global coverage depending on the satellite or constellation, using handsets that communicate directly with a satellite. Mobile satellite telephone service is provided by satellite constellations in LEO, such as Iridium and Globalstar, and by satellites in GEO, such as Inmarsat, Thuraya, and ACeS. These services are provided by satellites primarily using the L-band. Satellites providing mobile phone and data services often are referred to as mobile satellite service (MSS) satellites.
Satellites have provided trunking for long-distance telephone service for decades. Most long-distance traffic is now routed over cable, avoiding the lag and other reductions in quality (such as echo) associated with satellite telephone calls. Areas or countries lacking terrestrial backbone still rely on satellite connectivity to the publicly-switched telephone network. Telephone companies or nations lease C-band or Ku-band transponders on GEO satellites. Telephony, along with broadcast television, discussed above, and data services are common FSS applications.