Ofcom champions faster satellite connections

The telecoms regulator launches a consultation into using higher frequency bands for satellite broadband connections, enabling faster speed for trains, aeroplanes and ships

Ofcom has launched a consultation to increase broadband speeds on moving vehicles in the UK.

As more satellite companies have been looking to launch networks both this year and into 2014, the telecoms regulator said it wanted to create a regulatory framework to enable their use and build on the take-up of such services.

Earth Stations on Mobile Platforms, or ESOMPs, transmit across the 27.5-30GHz frequency and receive via the 17.3-20.2GHz frequency. As these bands are higher, they allow for much faster connections, meaning users on trains, aeroplanes and other transportation could get internet connections up to 10 times faster than the current standards.

These bands are not used by terrestrial radio systems in the UK and are already available for other types of satellite earth stations, such Permanent Earth Stations and High Density Fixed Satellite Service (HDFSS), according to the regulator.

The consultation proposes three different types of ESOMP – one for aircraft, one for ships and one for land-based transportation. It recommends that the former two should require licences for their equipment to comply with the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006, although the latter would be exempt.  

Ofcom has asked for responses to its consultation to be sent by 5pm on 10 October, with a planned report date of December 2013.

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