Improving High-Speed Internet Access to Rural and Northern Communities through Updates to Licensing Framework for Satellite-based Broadband Providers


The Government of Canada has made updates to its satellite licensing framework to support next-generation satellites. These non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) systems are composed of smaller satellites that travel closer to Earth than traditional, larger satellites.

In particular, a type of NGSO satellite, known as low earth-orbit satellite, has the potential to deliver very high-speed Internet to Canadians living in remote and northern communities.  

As the federal department responsible for regulating telecommunications satellites, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) is modernizing its licensing rules to ensure that satellite-based systems will provide complete broadband service coverage throughout the entire country. In addition, ISED is implementing changes that streamline the licensing process, resulting in more satellite systems being approved faster before they enter the market.

NGSO systems are also a new platform for other technologies and services supporting resource sectors and fields such as meteorology, agriculture, climate change analysis and space research.

Last June, ISED suspended applications for licensing from commercial NGSO systems while a review and consultation of the process were under way.  On June 26, 2017, ISED will once again begin accepting applications. Lifting this moratorium will allow more satellite-based providers to enter the market and extend high-speed Internet to rural and remote communities across the country. ‎

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