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Canada invests in Telesat’s Lightspeed

August 13, 2021

By Chris Forrester

Canada’s government has announced a major investment and loan commitment to Telesat’s Lightspeed broadband-by-satellite constellation.

The latest announcement comes on top of a C$400 million (€273m) separate investment and loan arrangement made by the government of Quebec.

The Canadian government is promising C$1.44 billion made up of two parts: a 20-year loan of C$790 million and it will make a C$650 million preferred equity investment in Telesat Lightspeed.

In return, Telesat will commit to make certain minimum capital and operating expenditures in Canada in connection with the programme and, in addition, to create hundreds of Canadian high-quality, full-time jobs and co-ops and provide academic scholarships. Through Telesat and its Canadian supply chain, the Telesat Lightspeed program is expected to support over 1,500 Canadian jobs.

The Lightspeed plan calls for 298 low Earth orbiting satellites with next-generation technologies to deliver multiple Gbps speeds and fibre-like connectivity everywhere in Canada and across the globe.

“The Government of Canada’s investment in Telesat Lightspeed underscores the programme’s transformational ability to bridge the digital divide, position Canada at the forefront of the burgeoning New Space Economy, and deliver sustained and high-quality job creation and economic growth in Canada,” said Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s President and CEO. “We applaud the Government’s recognition of the importance and promise of Telesat Lightspeed. With the funding announced today and other financing sources already in place, including the previously announced investment by the Government of Quebec, Telesat now has arrangements for approximately $4 billion in funding for the programme. We expect to secure in the near term the remaining financial commitments required to fully finance Telesat Lightspeed.”

Telesat wants its Lightspeed constellation to be in its initial service by early 2024 and to start launching satellites within two years from now.

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