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Space


Xingwang China Star Network

The satellite Internet is not a new concept. It was there in the 1990s, but since then its development thinking and positioning have changed. The Iridium satellite plan was defeated by 2G base stations. Around 2000, in the field of technology, satellite Internet was proposed. At that time, it was ambitious, there is the idea of ??replacing the terrestrial Internet in the future. However, because land-based Internet signal transmission technology, service level, price, etc., developed and matured faster, this idea was not mentioned. Later, it was used as a supplement to land-based Internet transmission. Only in recent years, with the help of 5G or even 6G, has the idea of ??integrating space-based and land-based emerged, that is, a network between space and the earth, unlikely to replace land-based networks.

In early 2020, the government issued a document to establish "China Satellite Network Communications Group Co., Ltd.", which the industry calls "State Grid" or "Star Network", the corresponding constellation plan code is "GW" ("Guo Wang" is also seen as Guowang and translated as "national grid" and as "national network"). "Xingwang" is China's satellite Internet plan, equivalent to the Starlink project of Elon Musk or OneWeb.

China’s satellite Internet plan faced debates over whether to focus on equipment vendors or operators during the advancement process. The Star Network Group’s positioning is to operate satellite Internet rather than construct it. During the construction process, it will organize bidding and bidding. The participants in the construction phase are mainly state-owned enterprises, and the star network group is responsible for the operation.

Although the original institutes of the Ministry of Aeronautics and Astronautics have been transformed into central enterprises such as aerospace science and industry and aerospace science and technology, the overall system operation is still semi-militarized. China Star has adopted the supplier's business model and is a state-owned enterprise, namely the Aerospace Science and Industry Group and the Aerospace Science and Technology Group. These two large aerospace central enterprises were restructured from the original Ministry of Aeronautics and Astronautics. They have been responsible for the R&D and launch of China's aerospace technology for many years and have strong technical capabilities. In addition, there are also two private aerospace startups entering the game.

According to documents disclosed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in September 2020, China declared two low-orbit satellite constellations under the code name "GW", totaling 12,992 satellites . A person in the satellite Internet of Things industry who has been in the industry for more than ten years explained to Caixin reporters that "GW" is the abbreviation of "National Satellite Network".

With the approval of the State Council, on April 28, 2021 the newly formed China Satellite Network Group Co., Ltd. [also referred to as "China Star Network Group"] was included in the list of companies that the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council performs as a funder on behalf of the State Council. SatNet being directly under SASAC gives the megaconstellation greater autonomy over sourcing. If the project was being done as a subsidiary of CASC, it's not hard to guess who would have built most of the satellites, rockets, etc It also puts SatNet/China's LEO broadband constellation at the same level, again in theory, as the big 3 telcos, effectively making the space domain a "4th telco", to some extent. The company is based in Xiong'an New Area near Beijing, where the government is building a new city to move many "non-core" Central government functions.

On April 26, the industry’s long-awaited China Satellite Networks Group Co., Ltd. (herein referred to as "China Satellite Networks Group") held its inaugural meeting in Beijing as a new central enterprise, and officially unveiled the board in Xiongan New District on April 28, becoming The first central enterprise registered and settled in Xiongan New District. This is not only a milestone in China's satellite communications and satellite application industries, but also a response and implementation of the aerospace industry to the country's new infrastructure construction.

It is the dream of mankind in the new era to be able to access the Internet anytime and anywhere. There are always brave companies that take the lead in turning dreams into reality. After the "Iridium" plan at the end of the last century covered the world with voice and low-speed data services, more than a dozen companies and organizations have put forward broadband Internet satellite plans covering the world in the past decade, including Satellite Communications, Eurotel, Well-known companies such as SpaceX, OneWeb, Amazon, Boeing, Airbus, Thales, Samsung and so on.

Among them, there are systems composed of a small number of high-orbit GEO satellites, and there are giant constellations composed of a large number of low-orbit (LEO) satellites, and the latter has gradually become the focus of the industry. In particular, the Starlink project proposed by SpaceX, a giant constellation of 41,927 low-orbiting satellites, has subverted everyone's imagination. Many people think that this is just an unrealistic delusion and it is impossible to succeed. However, SpaceX started launching the first batch of 60 Starlink satellites in May 2019 (not counting the two previously launched test stars). As of April 7, 2021, the Starlink system has launched 1,445 satellites into orbit. There are 1,378 satellites still in orbit. In the past two years, the Starlink satellite technology has undergone several iterations, and the level of electro-thermal integrated design is very high. Not only has a large number of end users verified the actual use effect, but also successfully tested inter-satellite laser communication.

At the same time, SpaceX's competitor, OneWeb, also launched the first batch of six test satellites in February 2019, and launched officially deployed versions of satellites from February 2020. After undergoing bankruptcy and reorganization and receiving investment from the British government and India’s Bharti Global, it reduced the previously planned constellation of 47,844 satellites to 6,372 satellites. As of April 25, 2021, 5 batches of 176 satellites have been launched into orbit.

American telecom operators are all privately-owned and prioritize economic benefits. In areas where the cost of laying optical fibers or building wireless communication base stations is too high, and the expected revenue cannot be recovered, they have no incentive to cover. The situation in China is completely different. According to information from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China, from the end of 2015, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Ministry of Finance have officially launched the pilot work to promote universal telecommunications services covered by optical fiber and 4G networks in rural and remote areas. By August 2019, China's administrative village optical fiber and 4G network access ratios have exceeded 98%, and the "13th Five-Year Plan" goals have been completed ahead of schedule. According to this ratio, although there are still more than 20 million people in China who do not have any broadband access means, the "village to every village" plan promoted by the Chinese government has not ended. In the next few years, the number of this group will inevitably decrease. Moreover, these areas are basically poverty-stricken areas with limited consumption capacity of the masses. Whether the price of satellite Internet user terminal equipment and service fees can be accepted by these masses is still a question.




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Page last modified: 08-05-2021 10:13:28 ZULU