Ofcom consults on increasing spectrum for satellite connectivity; Starlink submits licence application

22 Jun 2022

British telecoms regulator Ofcom is consulting on proposals to allow satellite operators to access more spectrum so they can provide a wider range of broadband services, including in hard-to-reach areas. According to the watchdog, amid increased consumer demand for satellite services, it is seeking to support innovation by extending spectrum access under its Earth Station Network licence to include the 14.25GHz-14.50GHz band.

Ofcom claims such a move would double the capacity available to satellite operators in the Ku band and would support improved broadband services for more rural premises. Under its proposed approach, Ofcom has said new conditions would be introduced to protect existing radio astronomy sites making observations in the 14.47GHz-14.50GHz band from interference. It also plans to introduce temporary conditions to protect any fixed links remaining temporarily in the band. Ofcom’s consultation on this matter will run until 31 August 2022.

In a related matter, Ofcom has also announced that it has received licence applications from Starlink for six non-geostationary satellite earth stations. Consideration is now being given to Starlink’s submissions, including whether they can coexist with other satellite systems in close proximity, and any potential risks to competition. Ofcom has invited comments on the licence applications by 19 July 2022.

United Kingdom, Ofcom, Starlink Internet Services UK