UK telecom regulator Ofcom has published a consultation about authorising satellite-powered broadband systems that can provide internet connections on moving vehicles, including aircraft, ships, coaches and trains. These systems are known as Earth Stations on Mobile Platforms (ESOMPs). Not only can they offer a faster and more stable connection than a conventional cellular signal, their proposed frequencies also enable them to outperform current satellite-based internet connections on moving vehicles.
A number of satellite operators are hoping to launch commercial networks that’ll transmit in the 27.5GHz - 30GHz frequency band and receive information in the 17.3GHz - 20.2GHz band during the next 12 months.
Ofcom is proposing that land-based ESOMPs should be exempted from having a Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 licence, with licences for aircraft and ship mounted ESOMPs being handled as part of existing Aircraft Radio and Ship Radio licences.
The deadline for feedback about Ofcom’s plans is 5pm on 10th October 2013. A response is expected to be published in December, with licensing information revealed in early 2014.