With Hundreds of New Low-Orbit Satellites, OneWeb Promises to Bridge the Digital Divide

By 2021, the company wants to provide 2.5 gigabits per second to every rural home.

12. 29. 17 by Kyree Leary
Image by OneWeb

Connecting the Entire World

Advances have been made in broadband technology, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that many live with poor broadband connection, while others simply have to settle for having no internet connection at all. OneWeb is a company focused on changing things for the better, and its plans are taking off in 2018.

As reported by Fierce Wireless, OneWeb and its CEO Greg Wyler are committed to connecting the billions of “unconnected or underconnected” people around the world. In June, OneWeb received approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to access the United States satellite market using 720 low-Earth orbit satellites — these satellites will utilize the Ka (20/30 GHz) and Ku (11/14
GHz) frequency bands to provide global Internet connectivity.

This isn’t even the full extent of the company’s plans. As their website explains they wish to use 900 satellites, building 3 per day at their satellite factory in Exploration Park, Florida.

“Those affected by hurricanes, earthquakes and refugee situations are often abruptly without infrastructure,” explains the company’s website. “OneWeb will bridge these gaps providing instantly deployable connectivity or long-term access solutions.”


Gigabit Internet in 2021

As reported by The Financial Times, OneWeb will launch the first 10 satellites early next year, with Fierce Wireless reporting OneWeb will be using their own rockets for the task. Following the initial launch, broadband services are expected to be offered in Alaska in 2019, then expanded to more people in 2020.

Speaking before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee,Wyler said: “Our second constellation planned, for 2021, will enable ultra-high speeds beyond 2.5 gigabits per second — faster than fiber — direct to every rural home using a small lightweight antenna.”

He added that by 2027, OneWeb intends to fully bridge the digital divide with an investment of nearly $30 billion.

“Our network is everyone’s network,” continues the OneWeb website. “Our system can provide access to health centers, schools, libraries, and homes through our low cost user terminal, ensuring relief to communities in need, tools to drive education, access to knowledge, and opportunities for local businesses. It’s all part of our mission to connect the world.”


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