Intelsat, operator of the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial network, today announced that it has contracted for new satellites with US manufacturers, a necessary step to meet the accelerated C-band spectrum clearing timelines established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this year.
Intelsat has entered into two new agreements; one with Maxar Technologies to build and deliver four satellites, and another with Northrop Grumman to build and deliver two satellites. Intelsat is currently in negotiations with manufacturers for a seventh satellite required to support its C-band transition.
Later this week, Intelsat plans to file its full C-band spectrum transition plan with the FCC in accordance with the FCC’s revised timeline. The plan will provide additional manufacturing and launch details for new satellites and outline the steps that Intelsat will take to reconfigure its terrestrial-based infrastructure and to ensure a successful transition.
“Quickly clearing 300 megahertz of the U.S. C-band spectrum to make way for 5G wireless applications is a complex task, layered with a significant number of highly interdependent technical activities, including building and launching multiple new satellites designed to operate at the higher portion of the band,” said Intelsat Chief Services Officer Mike DeMarco. “Intelsat looks forward to collaborating with our longstanding partners Maxar Technologies and Northrop Grumman on these critical builds, essential to clearing portions of the C-band spectrum and cementing America’s leadership in 5G.”
Intelsat was launched with President John F. Kennedy’s signing of the U.S. Satellite Communications Act into law in 1962. With administrative headquarters in McLean, Virginia, 24/7 satellite operations centers in California and Virginia, a 24/7 network operations center in Georgia, and staffed teleport locations in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii and Maryland, Intelsat employs over 1,000 Americans across 11 states. Over 100 million U.S. households rely on Intelsat for their TV service, and Intelsat is the largest provider of satellite communications services to the U.S. military. Last month, Intelsat launched a new managed service for U.S. mobile operators that will help expand 4G and 5G broadband coverage to rural America.