Telesat's major milestone as C$1.44 billion secured for Lightspeed

Telesat Lightspeed satellite.jpg

Satellite operators Telesat has secured C$1.44 billion in investment from the Canadian government, which it said represents a "major milestone" towards completing the financing of Telesat Lightspeed.

In return for the funds, Telesat will prioritise Canadian suppliers and project partners for the constellation, and create "hundreds of Canadian high-quality, full-time jobs" while also offering academic scholarships.

Telesat said Telesat Lightspeed is "the largest space programme ever conceived in Canada and will be the most innovative, cutting-edge broadband satellite network in the world".

Telesat president and CEO Dan Goldberg said: “The Government of Canada’s investment in Telesat Lightspeed underscores the program’s transformational ability to bridge the digital divide, position Canada at the forefront of the burgeoning New Space Economy, and deliver sustained and high-quality job creation and economic growth in Canada.

“We applaud the Government’s recognition of the importance and promise of Telesat Lightspeed. With the funding announced today and other financing sources already in place, including the previously announced investment by the Government of Quebec, Telesat now has arrangements for approximately $4 billion in funding for the program. We expect to secure in the near term the remaining financial commitments required to fully finance Telesat Lightspeed.”

Boosting project funding, the Government of Canada – subject to approvals – will loan $790 million and make a $650 million preferred equity investment in the constellation and project.

Through Telesat and its Canadian supply chain, the Telesat Lightspeed program is expected to support more than 1,500 Canadian jobs, largely in STEM.

François-Philippe Champagne, minister of innovation, science and industry said: “Now is the time to bolster Canada’s position as a global leader in the new space economy,” said. “Through its partnership with Telesat, our government is creating more high-skilled jobs, enabling innovation and helping to unlock economic and social opportunities in Canada’s most rural and remote communities. Every Canadian should have access to affordable high-speed Internet. Today, we took a big step towards making that happen.”

Delivering affordable broadband and LTE/5G across Canada, Telesat Lightspeed is considered the world’s most advanced Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network. Initially comprised of 298 highly advanced satellites and will deliver services globally.