Home Digitalisation Intelsat finalises satellite and launch vehicle contracts for U.S. C-band spectrum transition

Intelsat finalises satellite and launch vehicle contracts for U.S. C-band spectrum transition

Intelsat, operator of the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial network, today announced it has finalized all of its required contracts with satellite manufacturers and launch-vehicle providers to move forward and meet the accelerated C-band spectrum clearing timelines established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this year.

The company has entered into a formal agreement with U.S.-based Maxar Technologies to build the final satellite required to support its C-band transition and maintain the FCC’s post-transition, “same or better” quality-of-service standard. Earlier this summer, Intelsat announced manufacturing contracts with Maxar and U.S.-based Northrop Grumman for six satellites.

Intelsat has contracted with SpaceX and Arianespace to launch these satellites on four separate launch vehicles, beginning in 2022. The diversity of manufacturers and launch-vehicle providers will lower transition program costs and help Intelsat mitigate potential launch-delay risks that could prevent the company from meeting the FCC’s accelerated clearing deadlines.

“We have made exceptional progress to date in executing our transition plan,” said Intelsat Chief Services Officer Mike DeMarco. “We’re moving forward at an accelerated pace to clear portions of the C-band spectrum and help cement America’s leadership in 5G.”

“We’re committed to maintaining this momentum, and we look forward to collaborating with our longstanding partners, Maxar, Northrop Grumman, SpaceX and Arianespace, on these important contracts to ensure we can continue to provide the high-quality, uninterrupted television, radio and data services that more than 100 million American homes and businesses have come to rely upon,” continued DeMarco.

On August 14, Intelsat filed its final C-band spectrum transition plan with the FCC. The comprehensive plan details the steps required for Intelsat to reconfigure its satellite and terrestrial infrastructure to enable 5G deployment in C-band. Intelsat will relocate its existing customer services to the upper part of the C-band to make way for 5G services in the lower portion of the band.

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 more than 1,000 Americans across 11 states. More than 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. Intelsat helps U.S. mobile operators of any size expand 4G and 5G broadband coverage to rural America.