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Ofcom Look to Approve BeetleSat’s LEO Broadband Satellites

Monday, Jan 29th, 2024 (4:50 pm) - Score 880

The UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has proposed to grant an Earth Station Network Licence (ESNL) to NSLComm in support of its plans to launch a new global constellation of 264 satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), which could be used to provide broadband to mobile sites (backhaul), as well as military, aviation, maritime and enterprises.

The new BeetleSat constellation is said to be based upon a new type of Ka-band deployable antennas, as developed by NSL Comm based in Israel (the company also has European HQ’s in the UK and Spain). The goal is to launch 264 satellites to an altitude of 720km, sitting along 12 orbital planes (each comprising 22 satellites).

Each spacecraft is designed to handle data capacity of up to 8Gbps (Gigabits per second), with the network delivering a total capacity of 2Tbps (Terabits per second) once fully deployed. The first test satellite was launched a year ago via a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and, under the current plan, the initial batch of satellites for the operational system will be launched during the “second half of 2026“.

However, in order for the network to become operational in the UK, Ofcom must first grant an ESNL. This would allow the new operator to deploy user terminals – the dishes and antennas used by customers to connect to a satellite network. These can be situated on a building, in the air or at sea.

NSLComm has applied to use the frequencies 27.5 – 27.8185 GHz, 28.4545 – 28.8265 GHz and 29.5 – 30 GHz. At the time of writing, four satellite operators already hold NGSO network licences, including competing networks related to Starlink (SpaceX), OneWeb (Eutelsat), Telesat and a company that we’re not immediately familiar with – Mangata Edge Ltd.

Ofcom’s preliminary view is that “the Beetlesat constellation should be able to coexist with operators of existing systems without causing undue degradation. However, we encourage all parties to continue cooperating in good faith between now and the launch of the BeetleSat constellation.” The consultation on their proposed licence approval is set to run until 29th February 2024.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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11 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Brenda from Bristol says:

    Not another one!

  2. Avatar photo Andrew says:

    We can’t have too much in LEO – we already have Starlink and OneWeb and Starlink is all we need!

    1. Avatar photo THATisCuckoo says:

      I agree!

      “Ship has sailed Amigo” comes to mind

  3. Avatar photo NE555 says:

    “A total capacity of 2Tbps” seems to be based on 8Gbps x 264 satellites.

    But how many of those satellites will be over the UK at any one time? Perhaps two if you’re lucky?

    This appears to be a “me too” company without a plan.

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      The impression I get is that it’s designed to be a complement to existing GEO / MEO networks. So you might only see some traffic, such as the more performance sensitive tasks (VoIP, websites, gaming etc.), going over their LEOs. But equally this is not a million miles from OneWeb’s approach, post-Eutelsat, so there is a bit of a “me too” feel about it. But I’m not familiar enough with it yet to pass judgement.

    2. Avatar photo RightSaidFred says:

      LEO is a minimum of 11.25 orbits per day, so assuming all evenly spaced then every one of them would pass over every 128 minutes.

      6-7 of them over us at any one time.

    3. Avatar photo RightSaidFred says:

      Scratch that, I misread.

      Yeah, 2 at any one time.

  4. Avatar photo THATisCuckoo says:

    That video just looks like

    “We stole all of Starlink’s design and systems and are now launching it too” – P2P trunking is a Starlink patent – so good luck with that. The guy who owns it does not exactly need Legal aid you know..

  5. Avatar photo ETphoneHome says:

    Will there be enough room for major countries of the world to have all these LEO sats up there?

  6. Avatar photo Troy Richardson says:

    Future laser weapon target practice .

Comments are closed

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