Advanced Television

Telesat wants speedy C-band decision

May 17, 2021

Ottawa-based Telesat is sitting on some valuable C-band spectrum, and completely favours selling off some of that spectrum itself. The sale of 200 MHz of capacity would generate cash to help pay for its fleet of Low Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites, called Lightspeed.

Telesat’s CEO Dan Goldberg told analysts that it would like to handle the C-band spectrum sale itself and had been in discussions with external advisors and auction experts as to how the sale could be handled.

However, last year’s US sale of C-band frequencies was handled by the FCC and not – as Intelsat and SES had hoped – themselves.

Perhaps Telesat hopes the Canadian regulator would be more flexible than the US. “It would take us probably some months just to make sure that we reflected all the different requirements, restrictions and whatnot that the regulator would invariably articulate as part of it,” he said.

Certainly, the Canadian regulator is keen on a speedy sale and says it wants to sell certain frequencies which sit alongside Telesat’s C-band bandwidth by the end of next month.

One thing is certain: Telesat will receive $300 million as compensation from the FCC for giving up its C-band frequencies over the US and which formed part of the spectacular $81 billion in revenues generated by the FCC-organised auction last year.

As to Telesat’s financials, revenues were down 6 per cent to C$190 million for Q1. Goldberg told analysts that he anticipated around 25 per cent of his company’s current Geostationary business would be better served from LEO satellites.

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