SES announced today that it has been granted, by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), authorization to serve the U.S. market using a significantly expanded O3b fleet in the Medium Earth Orbit (MEO).
The FCC grant opens significant additional frequencies to SES for use in its non-geostationary (NGSO) constellation and enables it to deploy O3b mPOWER satellites into inclined and equatorial orbits, delivering full global pole-to-pole coverage. A total of 26 new O3b satellites are authorized, in addition to the 16 satellites already operational and in orbit. The grant allows SES to add 4 satellites to its existing O3b constellation, which are scheduled for launch next year, and provides the framework for SES to triple its next-generation O3b mPOWER fleet by giving U.S. market access for another 22 super-powered satellites, of which 7 are currently under construction and scheduled for launch starting in 2021.
The O3b mPOWER constellation will bring massive scale and flexibility to the proven O3b MEO model. The 7 O3b mPOWER MEO satellites that SES has ordered already will have more than 30,000 dynamic, electronically-generated, fully-shapeable and steerable beams that can be shifted and switched in real time following customers’ needs. Each satellite boasts more than 10 times the capability of the current O3b satellites with unmatched flexibility.
“This important FCC grant provides SES with the means to grow and scale our network, connecting the planet and delivering world class solutions to our customers globally,” said Steve Collar, President and CEO of SES. “With the first 7 O3b mPOWER satellites, we will deliver a paradigm shift in performance, bandwidth and service. The FCC grant provides the platform to exponentially scale the network in response to surging demand for global data connectivity.”
The O3b fleet is the only NGSO system delivering fibre-like broadband services today. O3b mPOWER, when launched, will enable an even wider array of industries and customers to tap into this high-performance connectivity.