Anuvu gets deal to resell Starlink to maritime customers amid Telesat uncertainty

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TAMPA, Fla. — Mobile satellite connectivity specialist Anuvu said Jan. 17 it has signed a deal to resell Starlink services as plans to use a rival constellation proposed by Telesat remain uncertain. 

Anuvu said it has permission to resell broadband from SpaceX’s low Earth orbit (LEO) network to maritime customers, complementing the services it already provides in this and other markets from geostationary orbit (GEO).

Los Angeles-headquartered Anuvu leases capacity from dozens of GEO satellites to provide Wi-Fi on boats, aircraft, and remote locations worldwide.

Around the middle of this year, SpaceX is slated to launch the first two small GEO satellites for Anuvu’s dedicated constellation. Anuvu ordered the satellite from Astranis in 2021 four months after emerging from bankruptcy protection.

The dedicated satellites are part of an expansion plan that in February 2022 saw Anuvu sign “the largest yet in a series of satellite capacity deals” with Telesat, a Canadian company with a fleet of GEO satellites.

Their agreement covered capacity on GEO satellites using terminals designed to be forward-compatible with the Canadian operator’s proposed Lightspeed LEO constellation.

Mike Pigott, Anuvu’s executive vice president for connectivity, described the agreement at the time as “setting the stage for LEO connectivity with Telesat Lightspeed.”

However, Telesat’s LEO plans are beset by cost overruns and delays that have pushed any commercial service launch to at least 2026.

Telesat said last year that it expected to finalize funding for the constellation of nearly 200 satellites around the end of 2022, enabling Europe’s Thales Alenia Space to kick-start full-scale production.

Asked for an update, Telesat told SpaceNews Jan. 18 that the operator is “not issuing any new public statements at this time.”

Anuvu said its deal with Telesat only covered GEO capacity and “did not cover an agreement for capacity on the future Lightspeed constellation.”

The company added: “As one of the largest buyers and integrators of satellite capacity, Anuvu maintains close contacts with Telesat, SpaceX, Amazon, and Eutelsat/OneWeb about their LEO constellation development work.”

Anuvu said in a Jan. 17 news release that it has been helping its cruise, energy, and yacht customers install Starlink antennas since SpaceX expanded services beyond residential and enterprise markets to the maritime industry in July. 

“Customers who buy Starlink from Anuvu get our expertise and customer support without any strings attached,” Erik Carlsen, Anuvu senior vice president of maritime, energy and government, said in a statement. 

These extra services include Anuvu’s suite of network-management tools that the company said customers are not required to use.

SpaceX is increasingly turning to resellers to help expand Starlink’s reach as it seeks a critical mass of subscribers. 

Starlink’s growing reseller base includes remote communications provider Speedcast, which like Anuvu also emerged from bankruptcy restructuring in 2021 after being hit hard by COVID-19 travel restrictions the previous year.