How new satellite technology could unlock broadband for remote homes
Today we’ve launched our proposed space spectrum strategy for the coming years, part of which sets out how we will support the growth in use of satellite technology to provide new communications services for people and businesses.
One of these areas involves non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) satellite systems. These enable a range of services, including providing satellite broadband to homes and business properties in remote areas.
Because of their remote locations, these buildings might be unable to get their broadband services via the usual networks of cables and wires. Instead, the broadband is carried and brought to a building via satellite, in the same way as a satellite TV service.
Unlike traditional geostationary orbit (GSO) satellites, which remain fixed in one location and have been the primary way of delivering satellite communication services, thousands of NGSO satellites orbit the Earth constantly. These are tracked by satellite dishes as they move across the sky, and are being deployed by a range of companies you might have heard of, such as OneWeb and SpaceX.
What is spectrum?
You can’t see or feel radio spectrum. But any device that communicates wirelessly needs spectrum – such as televisions, car key fobs, baby monitors, wireless microphones and satellites. Mobile phones use spectrum to connect to a local mast so people can make calls and access the internet.
Why does Ofcom manage spectrum use?
Only a limited amount of spectrum is available, so it needs to be managed carefully. Certain bands of spectrum are also used for different purposes. For example, mobile companies use different parts of the spectrum to TV companies. So, it needs to be managed to prevent services interfering and causing disruption to people and businesses.