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"VSAT will fill Internet demand gaps of terrestrial networks"


Madanmohan Rao interviews Giora Reisch of Gilat Satellite Networks


Giora Reisch is marketing director for southeast Asia at leading VSAT services provider Gilat Satellite Networks. He was formerly with Hewlett-Packard; he has a B.S. in electrical engineering and an M.B.A. in international management. Giora is a speaker at the India Internet World conference (www.iworldindia.com) in New Delhi.


Q: What was the founding vision behind Gilat? How has your organization grown since founding?


Gilat Satellite Networks Limited was founded in 1987 with a vision to produce world class communications products and deliver associated services.


We have grown successively since our inception and in the end 1998 we acquired GE Spacent Inc. As per Comsys Report 1999, amongst all the VSAT products sold for the year, Gilat garnered 51% making it the largest VSAT supplier in the world for the year   (48% were from HNS and 1% from other providers).


We also have a market share of 70.9% in the rural telephony segment, in terms of number of channel units. We hope to retain this trend in the years to come.


Q. What are the top three trends you have noticed in the VSAT industry in the past years and what can we expect to see in the coming years?


1. People want more and more features at lesser and lesser price.

2. Bandwidth demand is constantly on the increase and technology has to keep pace and innovate to meet this demand.

3. With the advent of the Internet, the lead time the market is prepared to give is very little.

4. The prices are dropping and the capability of the products are increasing. 


There is a distinct and growing need for broadband Internet access throughout the world which the terrestrial medium has not been able to fully supply.  This gap is being filled up by the VSAT industry. 


This is one of the important reasons why we launched "Gilat To Home", an Internet initiative in conjunction with Microsoft and Echostar in USA.  With this initiative, Gilat hopes to bring VSAT directly to the home consumers and give them broadband access with high degree of reliability, availability and at an affordable price.


Q. What kinds of architectural and roll out issues arise in deploying VSATs for enterprise networks?


Since developers of application software usually deploy their software over terrestrial networks, they do not keep in mind the inherent feature of satellite communications to enhance communication efficiency. Gilat has endeavoured to assist application developers by educating them on satellite communications features in order to ensure maximum efficiency is obtained.


VSAT Communication needs an antenna, however small.  Till now we used installation professionals for this.  With Gilat to Home, we are toying with the idea of a self-installation kit to enhance roll-outs.


Q. How does India fits into your plans for Asia?


India has shown a great promise and there seems to be an air of liberalization which we hope will extend to the VSAT industry also very soon.  We want to play a very major role in this country as well. In fact, we were Number One in market share for TDMA VSATs in India, in 1999.


Q. What are some of your successful VSAT deployments in Asia?


As of now, the star network we have in Asia is the National Stock Exchange which has over 3,000 VSATs; it is one of the more unique trading exchanges based on VSAT communications alone.


We also have major services providers such as HCL Comnet, Comsat Max, who have very prestigious customers based on our technology catering to very large multinational organization.  We also have supplied networks to NIC and ITI, who are playing a major role in connecting the government agencies in India.


In terms of rural telephony, we can point to a few public call office networks set up in Indonesia that have been in operation for years, connecting rural users with the public telephony network. We also have a recent win in the Xinjiang province of China, where more than a thousand sites are expected to be deployed to provide telephone connections to that part of China.




The writer can be reached at madan@techsparks.com


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