At the Advanced Television infosite, journalist Chris Forrester is reporting that LeoSat is planning to girdle the planet with between 78 to108 satellites, each equipped with laser-based connectivity for ultra-fast low-latency communications; however, raising sufficient cash has proven to be a major challenge.
Mark Rigolle is the company’s CEO and he has past expertise as the CEO at SES-backed O3b and, prior to that position, he was the CFO at SES itself — he has been with LeoSat since 2015.
The would-be satellite operator has been working with Thales Alenia Space on the design of the satellites and their orbital constellation. Its investors to date include Hispasat of Spain and Japan’s SkyPerfect JSAT, and the initial budget for the constellation was to be some $3.5 billion. It is understood that neither Hispasat or SkyPerfect wish to expand their existing investments, and industry reports say that Rigolle is trimming those budget demands to nearer $3 billion.
Unfortunately, LeoSat has only until January 2021 to “bring into use” frequencies allocated to it by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). ITU rules state that if frequencies are not activated then their company’s rights to those frequencies lapse.
LeoSat wanted to speedily-built satellites to be launched to secure those frequencies, but reportedly is now looking to scale back its ideal plans including smaller — and less expensive — satellites that would also be cheaper to launch into orbit.
Rigolle stated that LeoSat has firm Letters of Intent worth $2 billion in long–term contracts to use its service.