Insights Ofcom consults on proposals to update its Earth Station Networks licence so that non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) satellite services can deliver improved maritime connectivity


Ofcom says that the plans are also designed to protect other services, such as radio astronomy, from harmful interference.

As Ofcom explains, every satellite operator delivering services in the UK must hold an Earth Station Network licence. These licences authorise access to spectrum so that ground-based terminals can communicate with satellites.

To ensure all providers of UK satellite services can access the spectrum in a similar way, Ofcom is proposing the following changes to the current Earth Station Network licence:

  • explicit authorisation for earth stations on maritime vessels, such as boats and ships that connect to NGSO satellites, to clarify that these services are permitted in the territorial seas of the UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands, and to ensure all NGSO services operate under the same licence conditions;
  • new licence conditions to support the protection of geostationary orbit (GSO) satellite services, radio astronomy and fixed links from harmful interference caused by NGSO systems; and
  • a new definition of the geographic boundaries of the licence.

Ofcom’s consultation on these proposals closes on 7 July 2023. To access the proposals and for information on how to respond to the consultation, click here.