Kepler Communications, a Canadian satellite telecommunications company, has received approval from the FCC to deliver their innovative satellite communication services to the US market. The Toronto-based company received unanimous support during the FCC’s 15 November 2018 Open Commission Meeting, and was one of four companies approved during the process.
Kepler was originally one of 11 companies to submit a request for access to the US market in November 2016 as part of the FCC’s processing round for new non-geosynchronous satellite systems (NGSOs).
Nicholas Spina, Director of Launch and Regulatory Affairs at Kepler, says about the approval “Exactly two years to the day after we submitted our original request, the commissioners voted unanimously to approve our request for market access. This lays the foundation for Kepler to deliver our unique services to the American public and we are thankful for the incredible efforts of the international bureau in supporting us to achieve this milestone.”
With its first Ku-band NGSO satellite, named KIPP, launched in January 2018, Kepler is currently the only satellite operator that offers pole-to-pole high bandwidth data services. KIPP is capable of delivering upwards of 40 Mbps to 60cm diameter VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) antennas where the bulk of alternative satellite services peak around 1 Mbps. KIPP will soon be joined on orbit by its sister satellite, CASE, when the latter is launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) later this month.
“Our early customers have been icebreakers, tourism companies, and scientific organizations that require pole-to-pole high-bandwidth coverage. With the FCC’s approval, we can expand our connectivity offering to the US public. We can deliver unique connectivity services to vessel operators like the Coast Guard and Navy, as well as to scientific organizations like the National Science Foundation. This approval means enhanced US scientific activities, and a strengthening of US national security,” stated Mina Mitry, CEO of Kepler.
After KIPP and CASE, Kepler is planning to deploy its third satellite TARS in H2 2019 that will be used to deliver their Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity service. Kepler has partnered with Germany’s Deutsche Bahn (DB), the largest railcar operator in Europe, to deliver unique IoT connectivity solutions within DB’s business units. Mitry adds “The FCC approval means we can now formalize partnerships and deliver services with US-based shipping and logistics companies in order to improve asset management within these organizations.”
This FCC approval was achieved because of the ongoing efforts of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (ISED) Canada to both support the Canadian space industry, and to further enhance relations between Canada and the United States. Spina adds “Kepler has been fortunate to have had great support from the space services team at ISED Canada, the ISED Minister Navdeep Bains, the trade controls bureau at Global Affairs Canada, as well as the management team at the Canadian Space Agency. All of whom tirelessly demonstrated the unwavering support that the Canadian government provides its commercial space industry.”