Rendering of Telesat Lightspeed satellite (Source: Telesat)

Telesat’s April money moves include debt financing and billing

Any remaining skepticism of Telesat moving forward with its Lightspeed LEO broadband constellation should be washed away by the company’s $500 million (USD) debt fundraising and the selection of a vendor for BSS/OSS software. While BSS/OSS doesn’t sound sexy or flashy, being able to manage services and bill properly is essential for any large corporate services business.

Telesat is offering secured debt at around 5.625% percent which will be due 2026 with qualified financial institutions able to purchase the debt around April 27, 2021, give or take a couple of days and subject to closing conditions. The net proceeds will be invested into “one or more” unrestricted subsidies for the development of the Lightspeed network and for general operating purposes if the funding needs of Lightspeed are less than currently anticipated.

Previously, Telesat said it would finance the roughly $5 billion Lightspeed project with a combination of debt and equity, with around 60% being debt and the other 40% from equity. The company also has a pipeline of capital from the Canadian and Quebec provincial governments through rural broadband subsidies and commitments for facilities placement and job creation.

Netcracker Technology, a Waltham, MA company, has been selected to provide its cloud-native Business Support System/Operations Support System (BSS/OSS) software suite, putting the software on Telesat’s hybrid cloud infrastructure.  Netcracker will provide services such as converged charging and rating; product catalog; configure, price, quote; partner lifecycle management, customer billing management and active mediation on the BSS side while OSS functions include active resource inventory, service quality management, service orchestration and configuration management.

“The Netcracker full-stack BSS/OSS solution is optimized for global network deployments and provides the industry’s most powerful tools to quickly respond to customer needs and deliver new services to market,” said Erwin Hudson, Vice President, LEO, at Telesat. “Telesat and Netcracker share a culture of innovation, and we are confident in their ability to deliver on our vision of a flexible and efficient cloud-native technology platform that will maximize the quality of experience for our customers.”

Having robust back-office software is essential, especially since Telesat has the opportunity to essentially “greenfield” its LEO business operations from scratch rather than trying to use a legacy system built around its geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) customers. The BSS/OSS solution will do some heavy lifting, supporting Telesat sales, order management, orchestration, network management, and service assurance requirements.  

Doug Mohney

Doug Mohney, a principal at Cidera Analytics, has been working and writing about IT and satellite industries for over 20 years. His real world experience including stints at two start-ups, a commercial internet service provider that went public in 1997 for $150 million and a satellite internet broadband company. Follow him on Twitter at DougonTech or contact him at dmohney139 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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