Telesat and the Government of Canada have formed a partnership aimed at ensuring access to affordable high speed internet across rural and remote areas via the development of Telesat’s low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. The government will contribute up to CAD685 million (USD521 million) investment in Telesat’s LEO business including CAD85 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund. As part of the agreement, Telesat will invest CAD215 million in R&D over the next five years and support approximately 500 jobs in Canada, while promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) jobs and education through a newly created scholarship, university partnerships and other initiatives.
According to the project announcement, there are currently 2.3 million Canadian households lacking access to ‘affordable and reliable high speed Internet’. The investment in Telesat forms part of Canada’s federal budget announced in March 2019 which earmarked CAD5 billion-CAD6 billion in rural broadband investment over the next ten years.
The first Telesat LEO satellite launched in early 2018 and the full constellation will be comprised of 298 satellites.