Advanced Television

Ofcom boost for maritime satellite connectivity

September 15, 2023

By Colin Mann

UK comms regulator Ofcom has made changes to its Earth Station Networks licence to confirm that non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) satellites can deliver the latest space-based broadband services to ships and boats.

At the same time, the new measures are designed to help Ofcom protect other services, such as radio astronomy, from harmful interference.

Every satellite operator providing broadband services in the UK must hold an Earth Station Network licence. These licences authorise access to spectrum so that ground-based terminals can communicate with satellites.

To ensure all providers of UK satellite services can access the spectrum in a similar way, Ofcom has made the following changes to the current Earth Station Network licence:

  • Explicit authorisation for earth stations on boats, ships and offshore installations that connect to NGSO satellites. This clarifies that these services are permitted in the territorial seas of the UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands, and ensures that all NGSO services – whether on land, sea or air – all operate under the same licence conditions.
  • New licence conditions to support the protection of geostationary orbit (GSO) satellite services, radio astronomy and fixed links from harmful interference caused by NGSO systems.
  • A new definition of the geographic boundaries of the licence.

The new/updated licence will be issued to all new applicants granted an Earth Station Network licence in future. The updated terms will be issued to all existing licence holders in the form of a variation to their current licences.

Categories: Articles, Broadband, Business, Policy, Regulation, Satellite, Spectrum

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