NT finishes building Eutelsat OneWeb ground station in Thailand

NT finishes building Eutelsat OneWeb ground station in Thailand

Thailand’s state telco National Telecom (NT) says it has finished building a ground station that will enable LEO satellite operator Eutelsat OneWeb to launch satellite broadband service in the country later this year.

According to a report in The Nation, NT said Monday it has wrapped up work on the OneWeb ‘satellite network portal’ site in Ubon Ratchathani province on a site occupying 40,000 square meters. The portal – which will be operated by NT – features 14 antenna bases as well as equipment and facilities to provide uplink and downlink connectivity for OneWeb satellites.

With the ground station completed, NT managing director Col Sanphachai Huvanandana said that Eutelsat OneWeb will be able to start offering satellite broadband services by the second quarter of this year, the report said.

Sanphachai added that the project was delayed by a year because NT had trouble getting official approval for the project from the Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

NT began work on the satellite network portal on July 2022. In July 2023, the Bangkok Post reported that NT and OneWeb filed a request to the Office of the NBTC seeking permission to provide gateway station facilities for a foreign satellite, import OneWeb’s ground station equipment and use the necessary uplink and downlink frequencies.

The NBTC had been in the process of revising its licensing regime for services involving foreign satellite operators. In late November 2023, the regulator approved new rules that require operators wanting to offer services using foreign satellites to apply for three separate licences for gateway station facilities, landing rights for uplink and downlink satellite signals, and commercial services, rather than a single licence for all three categories.

In March 2023, OneWeb signed a six-year multi-million-dollar deal with Thai aerospace manufacturer and satellite internet service provider mu Space to exclusively distribute OneWeb’s LEOsat broadband services across Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia.

mu Space plans to target a range of sectors with OneWeb services, including government, telecoms, aviation, maritime, land vehicle, backhaul and healthcare, as well as remote communities.

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