Advanced Television

Telesat: “Lightspeed could grow beyond 198 satellites”

March 22, 2024

By Chris Forrester

Ottawa-based satellite operator Telesat’s CEO Dan Goldberg told delegates to the Washington Satellite 2024 event that Telesat was not restricting its ambitions to the 198-craft Lightspeed mega-constellation of low Earth orbiting satellites.

“Is 198 satellites enough? Yes, certainly to get started,” Goldberg stated. “With 198 satellites we’ll have terabytes and terabytes of fully global, highly capable, affordable, secure, resilient broadband connectivity. Certainly 198 gives us a very capable network that will allow us to bring a phenomenal value proposition to the different verticals that we’re focused on.”

Goldberg then stressed that the company had regulatory “headroom” for a larger fleet and that Telesat could grow its constellation thereafter.

Goldberg praised Elon Musk’s Starlink for growing the market but also accused Starlink for “cannibalising” some of the core businesses that traditional satellites used to enjoy.

“Watching the success that Starlink has had in the market kind of validated the reason why we got on this little path [to LEO] a few years ago in the first place. It just became evident to us that our customers were wanting a lot of the things that Starlink is delivering right now [which is] low latency services, more distributed networks and more affordable bandwidth prices,” said Goldberg.

However, he also gave a strong endorsement for the role of geostationary satellites, and predicted a strong future for Geo in Video distribution. commenting: “Geostationary satellites have always had a massive competitive advantage in terms of point-to-multipoint video distribution and I don’t think that’s going away anytime soon. I think the industry will change, consumer patterns will change, but for the foreseeable future, there will still be millions and millions of households around the world that receive traditional linear video and point-to-multipoint [from] Geostationary satellites.”

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