ITU problems for Rivada Networks
March 29, 2023
Rivada Networks wants to build and launch 600 satellites in a mega-constellation. However, the business is on a tight timetable as far as its launch schedule is concerned and badly needs the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to relax its rules.
The first batch of satellites, numbering 300, are already on order. Rivada had hoped that the ITU’s powerful Radio Regulations Board (RRB) would grant a relaxation of its ‘bringing into use’ rules.
The ITU rules require all 600 satellites to be in orbit within 43 months. This, by any measure, is a huge task. To avoid losing these spectrum rights under the ITU’s constellation milestone rules, Rivada must deploy 50 per cent of the satellites in these filings by mid-2026 and the rest by mid-2028.
The two constellations each of 300 satellites have different deadlines for their 50 percent deployments. One is June 10th 2026, and the other is September 18th 2026. Terran Orbital, which is building the satellites for Rivada, must deliver 144 satellites before the end of March 2026, according to a regulatory filing on its agreement with Rivada, and the rest by the end of June 2026.
However, even these requirements are now under examination. Rivada had hoped that the ITU would relax these ‘bringing into use’ requirements but a meeting last week by the RRB postponed any decision until June.
Rivada’s application was made via its licence-issuer the Liechtenstein’s Officer for Communications. The RRB said that Liechtenstein’s official request was only made on February 27th, reportedly the very last day possible ahead of the RRB’s March 20th-24th meetings.
Rivada Networks is a US-based communications technology business with offices in the US and Ireland. Rivada Networks was founded on July 6th 2004 and its CEO and chairman is Irish businessman Declan Ganley. Rivada Networks is financially backed by Peter Thiel.
As well as contracting with Terran Orbital for construction of the satellites, Rivada has also contracted with SpaceX for eleven launches.