Telesat, a Canadian satellite operator, has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the government of Quebec for a CA$400 million investment.
The planned funding announced Feb. 18 will go towards building Telesat Lightspeed, Telesat’s Low Earth Orbit satellite network. The network will consist of 298 satellites and promises to bring gigabit speeds to telecom operators and industrial functions. Service should start in 2023. An MOU is an understanding that outlines plans for funding and is not legally binding.
On November 9, 2020, the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) announced CA$600 million in funding for Telesat to help bring affordable internet service to underserved Canadian communities as a part of Canada’s Connectivity Strategy. With the funding, Telesat is expected to deliver internet capacity at a reduced cost to rural internet service providers.
The funding from the Quebec government is a separate project from ISED’s.
In parallel to the funding announcement, Telesat also announced a new technology campus in Quebec that will be dedicated to Lightspeed’s production and operations. The new campus will support 320 new jobs, largely in STEM.
Telesat has also selected MDA, a Canadian space technology company, to manufacture the phased array antennas for the Lightspeed satellites.
Last week, Telesat contracted Thales Alenia Space, a French-Italian joint venture satellite maker, to manufacture the Lightspeed satellites. Telesat explained in a press release that Thales Alenia Space will perform the final stages of Lightspeed satellite’s manufacturing at a facility in Quebec.
Lynette Simmons, director of marketing for Telesat, said in an earlier email that Thales Alenia Space will also be responsible for the end-to-end network.