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  • Satellite Evolution Group

Canadian Government signs $600M contract to bridge digital divide with Telesat’s LEO constellation

Telesat and the Government of Canada announced today the completion of their agreement to ensure affordable, high-speed broadband connectivity across all of Canada with Telesat’s advanced, state-of-the-art Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. Following a Memorandum of Understanding signed in July 2019, this $600M (CAD) agreement enables Internet and mobility service providers to acquire Telesat LEO capacity at substantially reduced rates to bring universal broadband connectivity to rural, Northern and Indigenous communities across Canada. Telesat will be eligible to receive amounts under the agreement over a ten year period once the Telesat LEO constellation enters service.

Telesat Phase 1 LEO satellite

With just 41% of rural households and only approximately one quarter of Indigenous communities in Canada having access to fast, reliable broadband Internet service today, delivering affordable, high quality connectivity to all of Canada is essential. Telesat LEO will provide the reliable, secure, fibre-like broadband connections needed to bridge the digital divide in Canada, ensuring that Canadians living in rural and remote communities have access to affordable high-quality broadband that meets the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) goal of at least 50 Mbps download, 10 Mbps upload speeds with unlimited data.

In the wake of the global pandemic, dependable connectivity for Canadians has never been more important, as all aspects of life – from healthcare to work to education to remaining connected to family and friends – became virtual. Telesat LEO represents a holistic approach to connecting entire communities: delivering Gbps of broadband capacity into the community provides internet connectivity that supports households, schools, healthcare facilities, and government services, and also enhances and expands the reach of LTE and 5G networks across all of Canada, including in far northern, remote, rural and Indigenous communities.

“Telesat LEO will transform connectivity in Canada, and this agreement will bring affordable enterprise grade, high-speed connectivity to underserved Canadians no matter where they live and work,” said Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s President and CEO. “We applaud the Government of Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada for leveraging revolutionary technologies like Telesat LEO to drive widespread social and economic benefits. We look forward to working with Canadian service providers to provide this capacity to qualified communities across the country to get all Canadians connected as soon as possible.”

Under the terms of the agreement, a dedicated pool of Telesat LEO rural connectivity capacity will be available to Service Providers at greatly reduced rates on a first come, first served basis to provide connectivity for eligible communities. With Telesat LEO’s high performance network capacity, service providers will offer broadband services to their end users of at least 50/10 Mbps speeds with unlimited data, and mobility service providers will offer LTE services.

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