Ofcom has published proposals to change the way that it licenses certain satellite systems.(1)

Ofcom explained that several new satellite broadband networks are currently being developed that use non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) systems to connect people to the Internet, particularly those 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. Satellite dishes track these satellites as they move across the sky.

According to Ofcom, while non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) systems can potentially bring faster speeds to customers, it can be more complex for different NGSO satellite operators to agree on how to operate their networks without them interfering with each other. To help support competition in this market and protect the quality of the service that customers receive, Ofcom is proposing changes to the licensing process for NGSO systems. This includes new checks on the potential interference between networks and publishing the licence applications that it receives so that other interested parties have an opportunity to raise any interference or competition concerns. The changes would also require different networks to co-operate with each other on technical matters to avoid the risk of disruption to their services under the conditions of their licence.

Ofcom said that it recognises the importance of these new services to the wider space sector and that it will be publishing its Space Sector Spectrum Strategy in Autumn 2021. This will not affect these NGSO licensing proposals.

Ofcom welcomes responses to its NGSO licensing proposals until 20 September 2021.

For further information on this topic please contact Gordon Moir at Wiggin by telephone (+44 20 7612 9612) or email ([email protected]). The Wiggin website can be accessed at www.wiggin.co.uk.


(1) To access the proposals, click here.