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Taiwan to offer discounted frequency usage fee for LEO satellite communications

Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC) will offer discounted frequency usage fee for low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications between 2023-2028, as part of the government’s efforts to attract foreign LEO satellite operators to set up bases in the country.

After the Space Development Act passed final reading in Taiwan’s legislature last year, industry observers have expressed high hopes for the country’s development of an LEO satellite industry supply chain.

During his recent visit to SpaceX, minister of science and technology Wu Tsung-tsong also encouraged executives at the US spacecraft manufacturer to consider establishing test centers and laboratories in Taiwan to improve the test efficiency for locally produced LEO satellite communications components.

According to documents released by the Taiwanese government, LEO satellites can strengthen telecommunications infrastructure as well as enable high-speed broadband Internet connection in rural and remote regions.

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is currently developing standardization for 5G-Advanced communication technologies and evaluating the possible utilization of non-terrestrial networks (NTN). The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is also planning for the use of radio-frequency spectrum for satellite communications.

The next-generation satellite communications will play a key part in Taiwan’s promotion of its six core strategic industries. Having the advantages of high transmission and full coverage across land, air and sea, LEO satellites have the potential to realize total global Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity.

Taiwan’s cabinet on March 11, 2022 modified its wireless communications frequency supply policy and allocated four frequency bands (10.7-12.7GHz, 13.75-14.5GHz, 17.7-20.2GHz and 27.5-30.0GHz) for use by geostationary and non-geostationary satellite communications service providers.

According to NCC, the frequency band utilization fee that users should pay every year is: NT$10,000 (US$335.6) per MHz multiplied by a number of coefficients deriving from the locations and purposes of the networks. Considering the high costs of satellite deployment for communication service providers in the beginning, the frequency utilization rate will be 90% off between 2023-2024, 70% off in 2025, 50% off in 2026, 30% off in 2027, and 10% off in 2028. Users will be charged with non-discounted fee starting in 2029.

To be eligible to provide LEO satellite services, companies must be registered in Taiwan to apply for a frequency block, the NCC said, noting that foreign operators with partnerships with Taiwan-based companies are also allowed to file applications. Successful applicants will be given a two-year period to operate within the frequency range they applied for, the NCC explained. DigiTimes

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