Ofcom has today confirmed changes to change the way it licenses certain satellite systems this morning.
A number of new satellite systems are currently being developed which use Non-Geostationary Orbit (NGSO) satellites to provide high speed connections – particularly for people and businesses in hard-to-reach areas.
NGSO systems are more sophisticated than earlier satellite broadband networks. Rather than ground equipment pointing at a single satellite to connect people, NGSO networks can involve thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth, which satellite dishes need to track as they move across the sky.
While this can potentially bring faster speeds to customers, it can be more complex for different NGSO satellite operators to agree how to operate their networks without them interfering with each other. So, to help support competition in this market and protect the quality of the service customers receive, Ofcom are introducing changes to how they license NGSO systems.
This includes new checks on potential interference between networks; and publishing licence applications the watchdog receive, so other interested parties have an opportunity to raise any interference or competition concerns.
The changes also require different networks, as a condition of their licences, to co-operate with each other on technical matters to avoid risk of disruption to their services.
Beyond today’s licensing changes, the media regulator will be considering the wider implications of NGSO systems as part of our forthcoming Space Spectrum Strategy.