Insights Ofcom confirms licensing changes to support satellite sector

Ofcom explains that several new satellite systems are currently being developed that 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. Therefore, to help support competition in this market and protect the quality of the service customers receive, Ofcom is introducing changes to how we license NGSO systems.

This includes new checks on potential interference between networks; and publishing licence applications Ofcom receives, 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. To read Ofcom’s statement in full, click here.