Advanced Television

CBA promises new US-built satellites

December 14, 2018

By Chris Forrester

The C-Band Alliance (CBA), which is looking to restructure a total of 200 MHz of its frequencies over the US for 5G use, says that its members will invest in new satellites (all of which will be US-made) to add capacity in the upper portion of the C-band Downlink.

The FCC closed its ‘in-box’ for comments about the CBA’s proposals on December 11th, with some 300 filings logged into the Commission.

SES spokesperson Markus Payer has confirmed that SES and Intelsat do have an estimate of the likely new C-band satellite capacity that could be needed, but declined to reveal the specific amount. Eutelsat, for example, has already indicated that it would lease new capacity from SES or Intelsat if it needed new bandwidth were needed.

The news could be a potential lifeline for US satellite builders, which have had a tough couple of years in terms of new satellite order. Most in need is Maxar Technologies, which is currently a Canadian company, but is transitioning to a US business. Maxar controls Space Systems/Loral, for example, which has just sold off one of its Palo Alto construction facilities because contracts have dried up.

Informal estimates suggest that the US market could need around 15 new satellites to replace the ‘loss’ of 200 MHz of existing C-band capacity.

Boeing, Lockheed-Martin and Northrop Grumman are based in the US, and each could benefit from new orders.

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