OneWeb, the British specialist in satellite Internet services, will resume satellite launches through an agreement with SpaceX before the EU launches its sovereign constellation


OneWeb has signed an agreement with SpaceX that will allow the British Internet services specialist to resume its launches. The American SpaceX comes to the rescue of the now European before the European Union launches its own constellation of sovereign connectivity satellites.

OneWeb applied for U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the first quarter of 2020. The company was later acquired by British and Indian giant Bharti Global. The operation marked the start of the bankruptcy that was to be marked on the ground with the launch of satellites in the fourth quarter of 2020. OneWeb was based, among other things, on the Baikonur Cosmodrome operated for Russia for satellite launch. Due to the military operation in Russia, the association ended after a request from the Russian space agency OneWeb to ensure that the satellites would not be used for military purposes.

The new deal with SpaceX should allow OneWeb to launch this year. The launch of these satellites will add to OneWeb’s total orbiting constellation, which currently consists of 428 satellites, or 66% of the fleet.

The announcement follows the green light from the 27 EU member states on the project launched by Commissioner Thierry Breton to launch a constellation of European and sovereign connectivity satellites. The move is aimed at undermining US supply through Elon Musk’s Starlink and the one recently announced by China.

Europe will have its own constellation of satellites. The European Commission ended up approving a six billion euro project after heated internal discussions. The initiative aims to strengthen the capacity to provide Internet and telephone connection in Europe. In addition, it is about providing services in Africa, whose connectivity is based more on mobile networks than on terrestrial cable links. The first services offered through the European constellation of satellites should be available in 2024.

The Americans, on the other hand, are already ahead of Europe with Elon Musk’s Starlink project. Starlink is SpaceX’s plan to deliver high-speed Internet from space. With Starlink, Musk aims to deploy high-speed Internet coverage worldwide to connect users out of reach of existing broadband networks by sending thousands of satellites into low Earth orbit. Starlink has already launched hundreds of satellites (more than 800) and has begun testing beta service in North America. Testing for the Starlink network began last year, starting with the company’s employees. US satellite internet service has been approved in the UK since the beginning of the previous year and users are already receiving their kits. In France, the service is available from mid-term in 2021 at a cost of $ 99 a month, despite opposition from France Insoumise. Amazon’s Kuiper is another developing satellite-based Internet project that shares the same goals as Starlink for global expansion.

China does not want to be left out. It will start making Internet satellites to address Elon Musk’s Starlink project. It plans to build and launch about a thousand satellites into low Earth orbit in the next three months to provide 5G coverage that could offer speeds of up to 500 Mbps nationwide. The project, led by the Beijing-based startup GalaxySpace, aims to serve the most remote areas of the country first. These efforts suggest that Starlink may not be able to offer satellite connectivity services to the Middle Kingdom.

Source: One Web

And you?

What is your preference between terrestrial and satellite Internet?
Is the benefit of these constellations worth the other side of the coin (having mass satellites in the sky)?

See also:

Starlink public beta test begins receiving invitations and appearing in the App Store and Google Play for iOS and Android respectively

Starlink beta users achieve download speeds ranging from 11 to 60 Mbps, according to tests conducted by Speedtest by Ookla.

Native American tribe gets early access to Starlink from SpaceX says it’s fast, we’ve been catapulted into the 21st century, says Hoh Tribe

SpaceX Starlink now has its own standalone system with a standalone system number (ASN) and is listed on the Seattle Internet Stock Exchange.

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