This week LeoSat Enterprises and Telesat announced new customers. LeoSat signed an agreement with SKYBAND, a member of the Intelec Group and provider of satellite and network solutions in Saudi Arabia, while Telesat announced OmniAccess will be its first broadband provider.
LeoSat’s latest announcement adds to its $1 billion pre-book orders it announced in September 2018. Backed by SKY Perfect JSAT and Hispasat, LeoSat’s press release says the company is up to $1.5 billion in pre-launch customer agreements for services on its high-speed, low-latency low earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. The planned 108 satellite network will be able to provide transmission speeds of over 10 gigabits per sections with latency of around 20 milliseconds, putting it on par or better than traditional fiber services.
Customers for LeoSat include financial institutions, the energy industry, and backhaul for cellular operators. Beyond high-speed performance, LeoSat has emphasized a system designed for end-to-end security, using optical (laser) satellite cross-links as well as end-to-end encryption and the ability to provide point-to-point connectivity across the network without terrestrial ground stations in the middle. Launch of LeoSat’s first satellites is expected in 2020 with network completion with 108 spacecraft in orbit expected in the 2021-2022 timeframe.
OmmiAccess is a leader in providing broadband connectivity to “superyachts” and other high-end maritime segments. The company provides IT networks, broadband services and IPTV solutions to over 350 vessels worldwide, including yachts, “boutique cruise lines” and various prestigious (i.e. big budgeted) research and exploration vessels and organizations.
Telesat plans to build an initial 117 satellite LEO network with Ka-band downlinks to provide global broadband coverage with “fiberlike” high-speed services that should also match or better terrestrial fiber latency, with the ability to scale up to 512 satellites in the future.
The company has one pathfinder/test satellite in orbit and is expected to announce the prime contractor for the design and construction of its complete LEO system, including space and ground segments, later this year. Airbus and a consortium of Thales Alenia Space and Maxar Technologies are in the running to build the system, which should/will incorporate network software originally built for Alphabet’s Loon balloon-based mobile data service.