Isotropic Systems raises $40 million for a satellite antenna that could make the most of new constellations

Darrell Etherington
·2 min read

U.K.-based Isotropic Systems has raised a $40 million funding in an "oversubscribed" round that the startup says will help it get its next-generation broadband terminal to the production phase by its 2022 target. The funding, a Series B that brings the company's total raised to $60 million, was led by SES and included participation form Boeing HorizonX, Space Angels and Orbital Ventures on the venture side, and that includes U.K. government grant support as well.

Isotropic's business is centred around a new type of broadband terminal it's developing that can communicate across multiple frequencies, making it possible for it to connect to more than one satellite network at the same time without any loss in signal quality or network speed for any individual connection. The final product would then offer ground connectivity to customers that could potentially maintain connections with more than one of the emerging satellite broadband networks in development, including those being set up by OneWeb, SpaceX, Intelsat, SES, Amazon and more.

The startup will be opening a 20,000 square-foot testing and prediction facility near Reading in the U.K., and expects to have the first operational version of its ground terminal in production by 2022. If its final product works as advertised, it could be a major boon both for satellite network connectivity providers and for clients, as it would mean that customers who can afford the service don't have to either select from among the available options, and can instead use one hardware solution to connect to multiple options in order to take advantage of potential speed benefits, as well as network redundancy.

The benefits are obvious, provided the financials make sense. Imagine, for instance, using onboard Wi-Fi on an international flight. Typically, these networks have been unreliable, to say the least. Coverage and quality drop-outs are common, and speeds tend to be weak in even the best of cases. Networks like Starlink aim to correct a lot of these legacy problems, but even better would be a solution that offers connection to multiple satellite networks simultaneously, switching between each connection as necessary to maintain the best possible network quality -- and potentially combining available bandwidth when possible to boost speeds.

Isotropic's potential customer list for such an offering spans military, government and civilian markets, across both broadband and low-data IoT networks. This latest funding should help it prove its groundbreaking technology can attain the production scale and efficacy required to live up to its promise.