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Thread: OneWeb's international broadband Internet and mobile communications

  1. #1
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    OneWeb's international broadband Internet and mobile communications

    Not quite space exploration but it is will give commercial space exploration a big boost. To start with they have placed orders for 39 LauncherOne missions, with options for another 100 flights. Also 21 rides on Soyuz rockets from Arianespace. (read also about an Indian commercial company involved in the venture.)

    http://sen.com/news/virgin-galactic-...cts-for-oneweb

    Virgin Galactic has signed up its first customer for launch services aboard its still-in-development LauncherOne rocket, with a contract for up to 139 flights for OneWeb.

    “It’s great customer, and one that is super ambitious as well,” Virgin Galactic chief executive George Whitesides told Sen.

    Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Whitesides said the bulk buy allowed for good terms for OneWeb, a startup that plans to operate a 648-member network of small satellites that can beam broadband Internet and mobile communications to all parts of the globe.
    - See more at: http://sen.com/news/virgin-galactic-....Yukq1lax.dpuf

  2. #2
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    OneWeb is not the only proposal to bring internet to the masses. SpaceX has one with 4,000 satellites. Hold on, satellites are not the only proposals on the table. Facebook is proposing to use drones and Google via high-flying balloons. So we can say the competition is heating up.

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/A_...world_999.html

    The race is on to get billions of people connected to the internet via a global network of satellites. Europe's Airbus announced this week that it is to design and build up to 900 satellites for the privately owned OneWeb Ltd, which includes Richard Branson as a board member.

    A statement from OneWeb said the plan was to begin launches in 2018 to bring "affordable internet access for everyone" by providing approximately 10 terabits per second of low-latency, high-speed broadband. That estimate of 10 terabits per second may be misleading, though. The broadband access rates experienced by customers are more likely to be in the range of 2 to 50 megabits per second (Mb/s).

    It is an ambitious move and follows reports that the entrepreneur Elon Musk's company SpaceX is seeking US government approval of a network of 4,000 satellites to provide similar internet access. Accessing the internet via satellite is nothing new. Our own NBN Co plans to launch a satellite this September to help bring people in regional areas to its high-speed network.

    But what makes OneWeb and SpaceX's ventures interesting is their plan to connect people anywhere on the planet, similar to Google's plan revealed last year.

    Facebook's internet.org is another project that aims to make it easier for more people anywhere to connect to the internet.

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    "US bankruptcy court approves sale of OneWeb to UK govt, Bharti"

    https://www.telecompaper.com/news/us...harti--1356522

    Satellite communications company OneWeb has received approval from a US bankruptcy court for its Chapter 11 reorganisation plan, which involves the sale of the company to a consortium led by the UK Government and India's Bharti Global.

    This leaves OneWeb on track to resume full business operations imminently, with plans to deploy the initial 650 LEO satellite constellation under the new ownership. Commercial services are expected to start in 2021.
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    "Satellite Company OneWeb Emerges From Bankruptcy With UK, Bharti Backing"

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/satelli...ng-11605894544

    Satellite company OneWeb has emerged from bankruptcy protection after receiving a $1 billion investment from the British government and India’s Bharti Global Ltd., as the U.K. looks to strengthen its position in space technology.
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    OneWeb launch opens route to commercial service

    OneWeb, the London-headquartered tech company trying to develop a global internet service delivered from space, reached a key milestone on Thursday.

    The firm launched another 36 satellites, to take its in-orbit mega-constellation to 254.

    Although many more are needed to complete the network, this number would be enough to start offering a commercial service to a great swathe of the Northern Hemisphere.

    This should start at the year's end...

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidLondon View Post
    I’m guessing OneWeb see SpaceX as a direct (only?) competitor in this emerging “net from space” market. What do OneWeb see as a minimum number of sats to achieve an adequate level of service? Total goal?

    I think Musk and StarLink plan to launch (IIRC) something like 30,000 sats in total. That’s a lot of hardware in LEO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    I’m guessing OneWeb see SpaceX as a direct (only?) competitor in this emerging “net from space” market. What do OneWeb see as a minimum number of sats to achieve an adequate level of service? Total goal?

    I think Musk and StarLink plan to launch (IIRC) something like 30,000 sats in total. That’s a lot of hardware in LEO.
    I haven’t looked into it enough to have an informed answer. But I think the following extracts from the BBC article give some explanation. It seems that OneWeb may be helping telecoms companies to respond to the SpaceX disruption of their market in difficult to reach areas?

    …Of great significance to the UK market was the announcement on Sunday of a memorandum of understanding signed between OneWeb and British telecoms provider, BT. The pair are to explore how they can work together, both in Britain and across the globe…

    …Our offering is that we provide fibre-optic-like connectivity where there's no fibre. Our goal is to help companies like BT, and other telephone companies around the world, to serve their customers better by filling in the holes in their network, or adding robustness to their network," Mr Masterson said….

    ….Starlink has over 1,500 satellites in orbit now with thousands more to follow (the architecture of its network requires more satellites than OneWeb) …

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    Yes, OneWeb is targeted more towards service providers and other 'big' customers who already have a network but want to increase coverage and reliability of their services, not individual consumers like StarLink.

    There are other similar players in the town, most notably Amazon.

    Looking at the projected satellite and launch numbers, it amuses and terrifies me how in the '90s Iridium's 60-something satellite constellation was seen as 'excessive'...

    edit. apparently StarLink also targets the service providers, which might actually be more secure source of income than individual customers.
    Last edited by Zartan; 2021-Jul-04 at 09:29 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zartan View Post
    ….There are other similar players in the town, most notably Amazon.

    edit. apparently StarLink also targets the service providers, which might actually be more secure source of income than individual customers.
    That is interesting.

    The BBC article implies that OneWeb and SpaceX are well ahead of the competition. But I would have thought Kuiper Systems, whose President is apparently a former Vice-President of SpaceX Starlink, and with the weight of Amazon behind it, would be a powerful potential competitor.

    And SpaceX also linking up with service providers could also be interesting - including how they could avoid competing with their own individual customer offer!

    Still, the potential market is substantial so maybe room for all of this.

    The most important thing is that the vast number of remote/rural/ hard to reach locations for current providers are able to be offered an affordable and reliable service. This could be transformative for many communities.

    Perhaps low income communities could work with local providers, their governments and overseas development agencies to help get support for the necessary infrastructure, which would make the market even more attractive for providers.

    Competition between providers - especially with a Starlink individual customer service competing with existing service providers wishing to use emerging satellite networks to reach more remote communities on their patch - has to be good news for those communities.

  10. #10
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    There are several existing companies providing satellite Internet connections, although they tend to be geosynchronous satellites, which have high latency times and generally useful only for specific purposes. Notable exception is O3b, which has about 20 satellites on medium Earth orbits providing broadband services for mostly equatorial regions.

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    More detail on the satellite broadband market from ABI research posted a few months ago at:

    LEO Broadband services will propel satellite broadband market revenues to US$4.1bn in 2026

    The demand for broadband connectivity over both fixed and mobile broadband networks is increasing dramatically. Yet, despite network expansions and upgrades, only half of households worldwide currently have access to fixed broadband services. With the rollout of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations, satellite broadband services will improve broadband penetration significantly....

    ...LEO satellite operator SpaceX first launched its Starlink broadband services to residential users in 2020, supporting 100 Mbps broadband speed with unlimited data caps per month. SpaceX has launched over 1000 LEO satellites and aims to serve more than 600,000 homes and businesses in the United States. The company is now working toward the expansion of its broadband service to some markets in Latin America. Other companies such as OneWeb and Telesat have launched LEO satellites providing connectivity to the business segment. Amazon, which plans to launch LEO constellations named project Kupier, received FCC approval for its project in mid-2020, although the first satellite launch date is yet to be confirmed...

    ...There is inevitable competition from terrestrial broadband networks due to the expansion of fixed broadband networks and mobile networks. ..

    ..."The challenge of LEO-based broadband service currently is the cost of terminals, which are relatively high compared to existing satellite or terrestrial platforms. LEO satellite operators need to find ways to lower the terminal cost.

    Flexible packages and pricing could make the services affordable for users in both developed and emerging markets. Even though heavy subsidizing of hardware costs may be required initially, the ability to boost adoption rates will help ecosystem development and eventually lower the hardware cost,"
    No mention of the o3b satellites network in this article.

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    The above article mentions another OneWeb competitor, Telesat, which seems to be linking up with terrestrial telecoms operators like OneWeb.

    Below is from a press release in May 2021.

    Telesat and Tim brasil partner for first of its kind Leo test in brazil/

    Telesat, one of the world’s most innovative global satellite operators, and TIM Brasil, the leader in 4G coverage in the country, today announced the completion of on-orbit testing across several applications with Telesat’s Phase 1 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite.

    This first-of-its-kind LEO backhaul testing in Brazil was conducted with TIM Brasil’s Innovation Department staff at their state-of-the-art teleport in Rio de Janeiro, leveraging an 85 cm Intellian parabolic antenna to uplink and downlink to the LEO satellite....

    The resulting low latency represents a compelling opportunity for operators like TIM Brasil to expand their mobile and Internet services. Brazil has very good 4G coverage in population centers, but remote communities usually cannot cost-effectively be connected to the core network through fibre or additional cell towers due to long distances and difficult terrain. These tests highlight how Telesat Lightspeed can bring multiple Gbps of affordable, high-performance backhaul connectivity to connect many underserved regions and reduce the digital divide in Brazil.

    ...satellites that will begin launching in approximately two years will be more capable and sophisticated
    The following Wikipedia link gives more background on Telesat.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telesat
    Last edited by DavidLondon; 2021-Jul-10 at 12:20 PM.

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    I've just found the following Forum thread started in 2018, which didn't grow legs at the time.

    Space Based Internet

    Maybe we should revive it now that the satellite broadband market is becoming more active...

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    Another rocket launch with OneWeb satellites...

    Arianespace Soyuz rocket launches 34 OneWeb internet satellites into space

    An Arianespace Soyuz rocket carrying the 34 satellites of OneWeb's Launch 9 mission lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Saturday (Aug. 21) at 6:13 p.m. EDT (2213 GMT; 3:13 a.m. Aug. 22 local time at Baikonur) following a two-day delay.

    ....There are now 288 OneWeb satellites in space, all of them launched by Arianespace over nine different missions. And OneWeb is far from done. The London-based company, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last year, eventually intends to operate about 650 broadband spacecraft in low Earth orbit.

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    OneWeb unveils its smallest user terminal for LEO broadband/

    OneWeb has unveiled a briefcase-sized electronically steered user terminal called OW1, which it says is the smallest yet that is capable of connecting to its low Earth orbit constellation.

    The startup plans to integrate the flat-panel antenna with a OneWeb satellite modem in a sealed outdoor unit for distribution later this year...

    ....On Aug. 12, OneWeb said it had received a $300 million strategic investment from Hanwha, the South Korean conglomerate that bought British antenna startup Phasor Solutions last year.....

    The investment from Hanwha gives OneWeb $300 million on top of the $2.4 billion it had already secured, which it said completed the constellation’s funding.

    OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson told SpaceNews on the sidelines of Space Symposium in Colorado that the company has not yet decided how to deploy the extra cash.

    “First of all, it’s always good to have dry powder in any business, and particularly these sorts of businesses,” Masterson said.

    He said the funds could be used to accelerate market penetration, for acquisitions or deploy a second-generation constellation faster...

  16. #16
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    A busy week for satellite launches. OneWeb launch today follows the successful launch of new generation Starlink satellites yesterday.

    oneweb satellite launch

    …Our tenth lift-off, scheduled for 14 September at 11:07pm local time (2:07pm ET / 6:07pm UTC), will add another 34 solar-powered satellites to our constellation, bringing the total in orbit to 322. Each satellite is flown into position to deliver fast, reliable, enterprise-grade connectivity everywhere.

    You can view the Launch #10 event live here, on the website, or @oneweb - Youtube...
    An interesting comparison of the two approaches in the link below,

    OneWeb is ready to challenge Elon Musk for satellite broadband dominance

    ….In the relatively new world of massive satellite networks in low-earth orbit, SpaceX’s Starlink has stood alone. But OneWeb, the satellite internet company founded by erstwhile Elon Musk collaborator Greg Wyler, is set to begin service later this year in areas above 50 degrees of latitude, which includes Alaska, Canada, the UK, and northern Europe. Both systems are founded on the bet that cheaper, lower flying satellites can provide better quality connectivity than traditional high-flying, low-bandwidth spacecraft. But what makes them different?….
    Last edited by DavidLondon; 2021-Sep-14 at 05:23 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidLondon View Post
    A busy week for satellite launches. OneWeb launch today follows the successful launch of new generation Starlink satellites yesterday.

    oneweb satellite launch



    An interesting comparison of the two approaches in the link below,

    OneWeb is ready to challenge Elon Musk for satellite broadband dominance
    Hi David_London,

    Second link does not work.

  18. #18
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    Corrected link (just a minor formatting issue, I recommend always testing your links):

    https://qz.com/emails/space-business/2054136/

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    on the verge of another soyuz launch oneweb plans for future flights on indian rockets/

    OneWeb announced Monday it is working on an agreement to launch future broadband internet satellites on Indian rockets, the same day the next batch of 36 OneWeb spacecraft moved into position at a Russian spaceport for liftoff Thursday on a Soyuz launcher.

    With Thursday’s launch, OneWeb will have shot 358 satellites into orbit since February 2019. Each spacecraft is about the size of a mini-refrigerator.

    The remaining Soyuz missions are sufficient to launch OneWeb’s planned network of 648 satellites in polar orbit 745 miles (1,200 kilometers) above Earth to provide low-latency broadband internet services around the world. OneWeb is planning another generation of spacecraft to handle more internet traffic, and that constellation could number thousands of satellites.

    … “We are delighted to have OneWeb looking into how our launch capabilities can help meet their global ambition to connect people everywhere,” said K. Sivan, chairman of ISRO, India’s space agency. “We are making tremendous progress and India is advancing its space capabilities and we look forward to working together.”

    “ISRO has built formidable launch capabilities ,and India is part of the select group of countries to have history of successful launches,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, OneWeb’s chairman and the billionaire founder of Bharti Enterprises, OneWeb’s majority shareholder.

    “OneWeb will be delighted to use ISRO’s proven platforms to fulfill its vision of taking broadband connectivity across the Earth, oceans and sky,” Mittal said in a statement…

    ….OneWeb said Monday that it is on track to start internet services to Alaska, Canada, and the UK by the end of this year. Services to the rest of the world will begin by late 2022, the company said.

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