Advanced Television

Ofcom licenses Starlink, Lightspeed

November 10, 2022

By Chris Forrester

UK regulator Ofcom has already identified Elon Musk’s Starlink and Canadian operator Telesat for their innovative wireless and broadband services. Both Starlink and Telesat’s Lightspeed licences are being approved and extended. Additionally, Ofcom has issued its future plan to encourage and enable further innovation.

Ofcom’s initiative includes a new strategy for supporting the space sector and harnessing the huge potential provided by communications services delivered via satellite.

“Satellite operators can now access more airwaves so they can provide a wider range of broadband services, such as helping to better connect homes and businesses in hard-to-reach rural areas, as well as on trains, in the air and at sea,” said Ofcom. “We are extending satellite spectrum access to include the 14.25-14.5 GHz band, doubling capacity available to transmit data to satellites.”

“We are also today granting licences to Starlink for six Non-GSO ‘gateway earth stations’ – large dishes on the ground that connect the satellite network to the internet. The licences will enable Starlink to provide broadband services to more homes and businesses,” added Ofcom. “We have also approved an application from Telesat for an Earth Station Network Licence for its Lightspeed constellation, meaning it will be able to offer satellite connectivity to people and businesses in the UK for the first time.”

“You can’t see or feel radio spectrum, but all our wireless communication depends on it. Incredible new services are being developed, meaning demand for spectrum is growing,” commented David Willis, Spectrum Group Director at Ofcom. “This is particularly true in space, where satellite technology offers faster and more reliable internet services for those living in remote areas, as well as planes and ships. Today is one small step in our work to make sure everyone can benefit from these giant leaps in innovation.”

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