Monday 26 July 2021 1:25 pm

Ofcom targets Musk’s SpaceX and Oneweb with satellite rule revamp

Ofcom has outlined proposals for tighter rules on the satellite broadband sector in a move that would impact Elon Musk’s SpaceX and British rival Oneweb.

Space X and Oneweb are racing to launch constellations of low-orbit satellites that will provide high-speed broadband services to remote rural locations worldwide.

While the systems can bring faster speeds to customers, it can be more complex for rival operators to agree how to operate their networks without interfering with each other.

As a result, the media regulator today proposed changes to the licensing process for satellite broadband firms.

These include new checks on potential interference between networks and the publication of licence applications so that other players can raise interference or competition concerns.

The changes would also require different operators to cooperate with each other on technical matters to avoid disruption to their services as a condition of their licences.

The measures would mark the first steps to regulate the rapidly-growing space broadband sector. Ofcom is planning to publish its Space Sector Spectrum Strategy this autumn.

It comes after BT inked a deal with Oneweb to help accelerate its rollout of full-fibre broadband services across the UK.

The telecoms giant has also hinted it is looking at a potential deal with SpaceX.