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LeoSat wins Japan’s SkyPerfect backing

SkyPerfect/JSat has agreed to invest in would-be broadband operator LeoSat. LeoSat is proposing a fleet of up to 108 Low Earth Orbiting satellites which will use laser-beam optical link technology to provide what is claimed to be the fastest and most secure data network available anywhere – on Earth or in space.

SkyPerfect/JSat Corp (SJC) is Asia’s largest satellite operator and Japan’s only provider of both multi-channel pay TV broadcasting and DTH satellite communications. With this agreement, SJC will be the first Asian satellite operator to pursue the development of low earth orbit capabilities.

“Entering into this investment, underlines SJC’s strong belief in LeoSat and the unique attributes of its new low earth orbit network architecture which utilises inter-satellite laser links to create an optical backbone in space, providing fibre-like low-latency and gigabit per second data delivery,” said a joint statement. “The investment in LeoSat and the agreement to jointly market this new system allows SJC to pursue new business opportunities in the data and mobility markets in sectors such as telecommunications, multinational enterprise, maritime and government services by providing previously unavailable levels of network performance combined with worldwide reach and allows the company to further study the additional applications of low earth orbit communications in pursuit of its global ambitions.”

The commitment by SJC will permit LeoSat to now move ahead with Thales Alenia Space, which is to build the satellites, to further proceed with initial work on the satellite system. LeoSat is looking to launch prototype satellites as early as 2019.

Mark Rigolle, CEO of LeoSat said: “We are thrilled that an established company such as SJC, with a reputation for foresight and diligence in the development of its technical capabilities and business relationships has chosen to partner with LeoSat. LeoSat’s low earth orbit constellation comes with a key set of attributes which are already receiving significant attention from both the commercial and government sectors, including lower latencies, better data rates and increased security and resilience. With the added-value of support from SJC, we definitely see LeoSat’s faster than fibre, ultra-secure and highly reliable global data solution as a game-changer”.

Koki Koyama, Senior Managing Executive Officer of SJC commented: “SJC sees the strategic importance of aggressively participating in the LEO/HTS business and we see the LeoSat solution as a key opportunity to opening up new markets and delivering business growth. With the current and future growth of data traffic and the unique nature of the LeoSat system and its focus on the business market, we believe there will be very strong demand for the LeoSat solution. This investment and development partnership with LeoSat will allow SJC to expand and complement our existing GEO satellite services and beyond by enabling us to respond to customer needs which are not being met by today’s technology.”

Financial terms of the investment/obligation were not revealed but are reportedly less than the $100 million sought to fully fund the Series A tranche of commitment. LeoSat’s Series B financing round is said to be about $175 million, while the full cost of the fleet is about $3.5 billion.

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