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FCC approves plans for NGSO satellite broadband connectivity

An artist's impression of a large NGSO constellation.

An artist’s impression of a large NGSO constellation. Image: New Scientist.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved the requests of four companies — SpaceX, Kepler, Telesat, and LeoSat — seeking to roll-out new services using non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) satellites.

It says these proposed satellite systems are expected to enable fixed satellite service in the United States, expanding global connectivity and advancing the goals of increasing high-speed broadband availability and competition in the marketplace.

The Commission has granted SpaceX’s application, with certain conditions, to construct, deploy, and operate a new very-low-Earth orbit constellation of more than 7,000 satellites using V-band frequencies.

The Commission also granted SpaceX’s request to add the 37.5-42.0 GHz, and 47.2-50.2 GHz (Ka-band) frequency bands to its previously authorised NGSO constellation.

The Commission’s action therefore provides SpaceX with additional flexibility to provide both diverse geographic coverage and the capacity to support a wide range of broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, governmental, and professional users in the United States and globally.

NGSOs could offer low-latency communications due to their low-earth orbits. Quite what this will mean for the future inflight connectivity industry remains to be seen, although there is a lot of interest in the new constellations.

The Commission’s action will also allow Kepler to offer global connectivity for the Internet of Things, especially sensors and other intelligent devices as well as other FSS offerings using its proposed constellation of NGSO satellites in the 10.7-12.7 GHz and 14.0-14.5 GHz (Ku-band) frequency bands.  Kepler’s proposed NGSO system, consisting of 140 satellites, is licensed by Canada.

It also granted Telesat’s request for U.S. market access with certain conditions in the 37.5-42.0 GHz, and 47.2- 50.2 GHz (Ka-band) frequency bands. The Commission’s action enables Telesat to offer high-speed, low-latency communication services in the United States using its proposed constellation of NGSO satellites enhancing competition among existing and future FSS satellite systems. Telesat’s proposed NGSO system, consisting of 117 satellites, is licensed by Canada.

In an Order and Declaratory Ruling, the Commission also granted LeoSat’s request for U.S. market access with certain conditions in the 17.8-18.6 GHz, 18.8-19.4 GHz, 19.6-20.2 GHz, 27.5-29.1 GHz, and 29.5-30.0 GHz frequency bands, using its proposed constellation of NGSO satellites.

The action facilitates the provision of “new and innovative satellite broadband services” in the United States by LeoSat, including high-speed connectivity for enterprises and underserved communities.  LeoSat’s proposed NGSO system consists of 78 satellites, which will operate under the ITU filings of France and a planned authorisation from the Netherlands.

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FCC approves plans for NGSO satellite broadband connectivity was last modified: November 19th, 2018 by Steve Nichols
Filed in: Commercial Tags: , , , ,

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