Statement: Starlink Internet Services Limited – applications for six non-geostationary orbit earth station (gateway) licences

Published: 21 June 2022
Consultation closes: 19 July 2022
Status: Closed (statement published)

Statement published 10 November 2022

Non-geostationary orbiting (NGSO) satellite systems are a new way of delivering broadband services from space using a constellation of satellites in a low or medium orbit. These satellite services have the potential to deliver higher speeds and lower latency services.

As set out in our statement on non-geostationary satellite systems, we have a new process for considering applications for the following types of spectrum licence:

  • Satellite (Earth Station Network): this authorises an unlimited number of user terminals to connect to the NGSO system (subject to certain conditions). It also places certain conditions on the licence holder (typically a satellite operator) to coordinate with other licence-holders.
  • Satellite (Non-Geostationary Earth Station): this authorises gateway earth stations, which connect the NGSO system to the internet or to a private network.

On 27 May 2022, Ofcom received six applications from Starlink Internet Services Limited (a subsidiary of SpaceX) for Non-geostationary Earth Station (Gateway) licences operating in the Ka band frequencies. SpaceX already operates three gateways in the UK. The proposed additional gateway sites are designed to help to meet user demand and provide weather diversity and network resiliency.

Following a consultation, in which we set out our initial assessment, we have published our final decision on Starlink's applications.

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