Category: Broadband

A flurry of contract activity involving Telesat, broadband and LEO, but not Telesat LEO

PARIS — Recent announcements by Telesat on low-orbiting broadband satellites with the U.S. Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA), Airbus U.S. Space and Defense, Lockheed Martin and German startup satellite laser com manufacturer Mynaric all concern low-orbiting broadband satellites for the U.S. military.
Whether they will help jump-start Telesat’s long-planned LEO broadband constellation is unknown.
Telesat originally offered its LEO design — with phased-array antennas and four 10-Gbps laser optical terminals each for inter . . .
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Iridium navigates Covid headwinds well, but cautions that aviation recovery will be slow

PARIS — Mobile satellite services provider Iridium Communications said its overall business is coping better than expected with the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing the company to increase capex, but that the maritime and aviation businesses are not yet recovering.
Iridium specifically cited commercial aviation, expected as a big market for Iridium’s new Certus broadband products. A quick rebound in aviation is not in the offing, Iridium Chief Executive Matt Desch said.
“The global aviation market, particularly the commercial side, may take about two to three years to . . .
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Mobile broadband provider Ovzon: Intelsat, Hispasat, Hellas-sat capacity secured; expecting 2021 market rebound

PARIS — Swedish satellite mobile broadband service provider Ovzon AB reported sharply lower revenue and a sizable operating loss for the three months ending Sept. 30 following lower demand from the U.S. Defense Department and Covid-19-related restrictions on sales and marketing.
The company told investors to expect negative Q3 results, and on Oct. 21 said Q4 will be no better.
Looking past Covid-19, which is no easy task at this point, Ovzon Chief Executive Magnus René said the company remains optimistic about . . .
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Intelsat: SES purposely misled FCC in presenting study that FCC used to apportion C-band payments

PARIS — Fleet operator Intelsat said competitor SES knowingly misled U.S. regulators by distorting a study of the two companies’ U.S. C-band satellite operations to win a greater slice of government-approved C-band clearing compensation payments.
According to Intelsat, the tactic worked: Without any other measure available, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) relied on the mislabeled SES-provided market-share data in apportioning C-band clearing compensation among the satellite operators.
Intelsat told the court handling its Chapter . . .
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With Southwest Airlines’s OK, in-flight connectivity provider Global Eagle exiting Chapter 11 with 54% of its debt removed

PARIS — Maritime and in-flight connectivity and content provider Global Eagle Entertainment is coming out of bankruptcy by early 2021 after its Chapter 11 court approved the terms of the original offer to buy the company made by secured creditors in July.
To unsecured creditors and others who complained that the deal looked more like a restructuring than a sale, GEE financial advisor Greenhill & Co. Inc. answered: We left no stone unturned in our search for a buyer. None was found.
As announced when . . .
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Eurospace asks European governments to fund a multiple-use LEO broadband constellation

PARIS — Europe’s space industry association, ASD-Eurospace, is urging the European Commission to field a constellation of broadband satellites in low Earth orbit to be owned by the commission and  designed for civil, military and commercial use.
The constellation would fulfill some of the roles envisioned by the commission’s Quantum Communications Infrastructure and GovSatCom programs in addition to assuring broadband access to all EU citizens. It would also help buttress Europe’s independent access to space by giving EU launch service providers a . . .
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Telesat, $100 million in but no prime contractor, tells ITU it will launch LEO constellation starting in 2022

PARIS — Telesat is sticking with the sophisticated design of its LEO broadband constellation while also maintaining its schedule of launches within two years despite the lack of visible financing and no prime contractor.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) deadline of having 10% of its 300-satellite constellation oil orbit by February 2013 may not be crucial. The ITU is well known for according extensions for force majeure events. Covid-19 surely qualifies as one of those.
On the financial side, Telesat LEO may . . .
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SpaceX Starlink: Inter-satellite links useful, not essential; regulatory deployment deadlines not a problem

PARIS — SpaceX told international regulators that the company does not view inter-satellite links as essential for its Starlink broadband constellation even though network performance over the oceans or other unpopulated geographies would improve with them.
Adding hardware to permit Starlink satellites to relay traffic between them in a mesh design would change the satellites’ overall mass and volume, possibly making it more difficult to continue with the card-deck stacking and release that allows the company to launch 60 at a time on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket . . .
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Hughes growth in Latin America suggests pandemic is a satellite broadband stimulus

PARIS — Broadband hardware and service provider Hughes Network Systems is closing in on 400,000 subscribers in Latin America, continuing a growth curve that may be in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Whether pandemic-induced growth will stand the test of time will be a major question for Hughes, owned by EchoStar Corp, and for many other satellite fleet operators planning consumer broadband investments.
EchoStar is several weeks away from reporting its financial results for the three months ending Sept. 30. But Hughes . . .
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Amazon’s Kuiper to international regulators: Time to get serious about frequency coordination & interference risk

PARIS — Amazon’s Project Kuiper broadband satellite constellation planners want international regulators to update rules on signal inference between satellite systems and to tackle the issue of aggregate interference from multiple large low-orbit constellations.
In an Oct. 7 presentation to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Amazon also raised a long-standing issue with the ITU, which is how to assure that what satellite operators have in orbit actually matches what they have registered with the ITU.
Julie Zoller, Project Kuiper’s head of regulatory . . .
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