Canada’s Telesat joins the race to provide fast broadband in space and will compete with the likes of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. The company has been around since 1969 and will launch a low earth orbit(LEO) satellite constellation to provide high-speed global broadband from space.
Telesat is an old warhorse when it comes to satellites, as it has been in the industry for a long time and promises to offer a sustainable competitive advantage in global broadband delivery.
Unlike SpaceX and Amazon who are targeting the consumer markets, Telesat seeks to target deep-pocketed business clients
Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s chief executive officer, was feeling restless with the company’s business model going for a toss, with Netflix and other video streaming platforms booming with fiber optics assuring lightning-fast connectivity.
The company offers GEO satellite services to TV broadcasters, internet service providers, and government networks. Most of their concerns were related to latency, or time delay, of bouncing signals off orbiters more than 35,000 km (22,200 miles) above the earth.
MNOs and ISPs face many challenges in bringing connectivity to remote areas. The Rural Broadband Consortium recently examined several technologies. Discover how LEO backhaul delivers the most affordable solution: https://t.co/HzbnkxOX1V
— Telesat (@Telesat) April 8, 2021
It was back in 2015 while traveling back home from a conference in Paris, Goldberg wrote his ideas for the LEO constellation on an Air Canada napkin.
Those ideas have now taken shape in the form of Telesat’s LEO constellation. It is named Lightspeed and will orbit about 35 times closer to earth than GEO satellites. Lightspeed will provide internet connectivity at a speed similar to fiber optics.
While currently around 1,200 of Musk’s Starlink satellites are in orbit. If everything goes according to the plan, Telesat’s first launch will happen in 2023.
The company will launch 298 satellites being built by Thales Alenia Space in early 2023. It will offer partial service in higher latitudes later in the same year and the entire globe in 2024.
The cost of the Lightspeed constellation will probably be almost half of $10 billion SpaceX and Amazon projects. With
Telesat is a known player when it comes to satellite operators and certainly has a clear advantage of expertise and experience in that business.