BT highlights the role of satellites in future-proofing networks

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BT recently hosted an event at their Madley Communications Centre, drawing a mix of public and private sector guests to explore the influence of satellite technologies in today’s communication networks.

The Madley site, nestled in the Herefordshire countryside and spanning 63 acres, is regarded as BT’s main satellite earth station. As the demand for diverse and resilient communication solutions climbs, the centre’s role in the company’s network strategy has never been more vital.

“The visit to Madley was really informative and has helped me build a better understanding of UK comms capability and resilience,” a visitor commented. This underscores the growing importance of satellite technology in ensuring network resilience, which is particularly crucial for backing up terrestrial networks.

Madley is equipped with over 60 satellite dishes of varying sizes, emphasising its capabilities in providing widespread and high-speed coverage globally. This is essential in mitigating risks such as extreme weather conditions and man-made disasters.

BT leverages satellite backhaul within its connectivity offerings, aiding in the delivery of both fixed and mobile services. Additionally, the site is the base for BT’s Emergency Response Team (ERT), specialists in civil resilience, ready to deploy on-demand connectivity solutions following any network disruptions.

Madley’s ERT has access to a fleet of rapid response vehicles and cells-on-wheels, engineered to establish fully functional communication systems in as little as an hour, depending on the situation.

BT is also adapting to changes in the satellite industry, particularly with the advent of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites which offer reduced latency compared to Geostationary Orbit (GEO) satellites due to their closer proximity to Earth. These advancements support BT’s goal to connect the entirety of the UK by 2028, notably in remote areas where traditional connectivity methods are impractical.

A prime example of satellite technology’s impact is the connectivity provided to Lundy Island, situated 19km off the Devon coast. In collaboration with OneWeb and the UK government, BT Group has equipped the island’s 28 residents with fast, reliable internet, facilitating not only everyday activities but also critical conservation and research efforts.

As BT Group continues to integrate terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks, the company envisions a future where global heterogeneous networks deliver seamless connectivity even in the most challenging locations such as maritime and aviation environments.

Madley’s longstanding contribution to the UK’s satellite communications since 1978 remains as pivotal as ever, ensuring that satellite connectivity and resilience continue to be integral components of the nation’s infrastructure.

(Image Credit: BT)

See also: Satellite heavyweights SES and Intelsat to combine in $3.1B merger

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