Letter | A Better Way for Government To Procure Satellite Services

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Your article Intelsat Accused of Engaging in Anti-competitive Practices” devoted most of its space to the comments filed at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission by unsuccessful bidders for the Commercial Broadband Satellite Program (CBSP), which was recently awarded to a team of 17 companies led by Intelsat General. In doing so, Space News allowed the ash cloud spewed by a few to obscure the real tectonic change that’s reshaping the landscape for government satellite services procurement. This change, which is threatening to some, takes a new approach to procuring bandwidth from commercial satellite companies that will create efficiencies for the end users and save taxpayer dollars.

For more than a decade, the U.S. Department of Defense has purchased satellite capacity through three intermediary companies. But now, the DoD and other government purchasers are changing this arrangement and plan to buy satellite services under a fully open and competitive process. The CBSP contract at issue is the first example of this new way of doing business, and carries several important benefits. CBSP opened competition to a wider group of service providers, including satellite operators, increased opportunities for parties who can add value to the satellite capacity the government needs, and eliminated a broker business model that is inefficient and expensive.

Intelsat has responded to the comments filed at the FCC, and we trust Space News will give this reply the same coverage it gave to the unfounded allegations of the unsuccessful CBSP bidders. Separately, the CBSP protest process will run its course. But no matter how these events unfold, the fact remains that the government is moving to a more efficient satellite capacity procurement approach that rewards companies that add value to the overall transaction. This change will bring better communications solutions to our military forces around the world, as well as other government users, and it will be good for the taxpayer. Why would anyone complain about that?

Kay Sears

President, Intelsat General Corp.