After successfully launching the final set of satellites required for its broadband service over the weekend, OneWeb, a competitor to Elon Musk’s Starlink internet satellite project, plans to expand coverage internationally.
OneWeb launched additional 36 satellites
Last March 26, the British company increased the number of satellites in its constellation to 618 by launching 36 more satellites from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India. The satellites were launched using an LVM3 rocket made by NewSpace India Ltd, a state-owned company in India.
According to company executives, OneWeb currently has enough satellites to provide an internet connection to each area on the globe, even if a few more need to be launched in May and June. By the end of the year, the company wants to provide its customers with worldwide coverage.
“This means that we will be able to provide what has been missing for a long period of time: high-speed, low latency broadband connectivity onto every ocean-going vessel — yachts, maritime industry, oil rigs offshore — every aircraft will now be connected with a high speed, low latency connectivity,” OneWeb Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said on a call with reporters Monday morning.
“Desert, forest, mountain, Himalayas — hard-to-reach areas will all start to get covered,” he added.
Mittal said that the majority of the “critical” Earth-based infrastructure for its network is now in place, except for a few ground stations that have still to be built.
OneWeb, a company founded in 2012, aims to provide high-speed internet to the planet using a system of 750-mile-high low-Earth orbit satellites.
OneWeb intends to launch a total of 648 satellites, of which 588 are necessary for worldwide coverage. The remaining ones will act as backup satellites in case some of the network’s other satellites go rogue.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Amazon, and Inmarsat are just a few of the companies that OneWeb competes with.
It reached an agreement to combine with French satellite provider Eutelsat in July of last year. The merger should be completed by the summer, according to management.
There is tough competition for the company. Musk’s SpaceX subsidiary Starlink has launched tens of thousands of satellites to deliver network coverage to areas with patchy internet.
OneWeb, which targets markets in North America, Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, Australia, Latin America, and Africa, is experiencing “strong” demand, according to Mittal, who acknowledged that the company still has “some catching up to do.”
Even though the business is now losing money, according to Mittal, it is nevertheless bringing in millions of dollars each month. In the future, it hopes to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars.
OneWeb claims it is aiming for enterprise clients, in contrast to Starlink, which offers broadband plans to consumers.
It has agreements with major telecommunications companies such as Telstra in Australia and Orange in France. OneWeb has dozens of users in 15 countries by the end of February.
However, in case you missed it, Starlink is now available in the Philippines. We will be uploading our review soon, so stay updated!