Telesat taking to UK skies with Lightspeed satellites

Communications regulator Ofcom has received an application from Canadian satellite communications company Telesat for an Earth Station Network Licence to deploy their Lightspeed satellite constellation over the UK.

According to Telesat, its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications network will provide services to various enterprise, maritime and government customers in the UK.

Telesat launched its first satellite in January 2018, ahead of plans to develop a larger constellation dubbed Lightspeed. Telesat said it ultimately aims for the constellation to comprise 298 satellites launched by the end of 2025 with commercial services added in 2026.

The spectrum requested from Ofcom falls in the Ka-band (27.5 GHz to 30 GHz range), giving them the ability to deliver multigigabit-speed broadband services to enterprises, as well as supporting mobile backhaul, maritime and offshore platforms, aviation, and government organisations.

Telesat’s application comes in the same week that Ofcom has proposed to allow satellite operators to access more spectrum so they can provide a wider range of broadband services including in hard-to-reach areas.

The proposals involve extending spectrum access under Ofcom’s Earth Station Network licence to include the 14.25-14.5 GHz band. This would double the capacity available to satellite operators in what is known as the Ku-band meaning operators would be able to use the full 14-14.5 GHz band for their services.

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