Slug: Global internet connectivity
Bharti Enterprises-owned OneWeb on Tuesday said it is on track for global internet coverage this year through its satellite broadband services and will take its total satellite count in space to 648. With the launch of 40 more new satellites in the orbit on Monday, the company currently has 542 satellites, representing over 80% of satellite fleet in-orbit.
OneWeb launched the satellites with Elon Musk-owned spacecraft manufacturing company SpaceX from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The new satellites will help OneWeb expand internet services across the US, Southern Europe, Australia, Middle East and more.
With this launch, OneWeb kicks-off its ‘Countdown to Global Connectivity’ campaign marking the final launches remaining to complete its first-generation LEO (low-earth orbit) satellite constellation that will offer high-speed, low latency connectivity solutions, it said.
“This launch brings us even closer to completing our constellation and launching connectivity services around the world. OneWeb believes that connection everywhere changes everything and each of these launches provides us with more capacity to help our partners connect communities, businesses, and governments around the world,” said Neil Masterson, chief executive officer of OneWeb.
The company already provides connectivity solutions in Alaska, Canada, the UK, Greenland and wider Arctic area, and covering unserved and underserved rural and remote communities for internet connectivity.
In India too, the company has got licence to provide satellite-based broadband services that might get launched as well this year. Currently, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is working to start a consultation process for allocation of satellite spectrum.
“India will be the first one to handle the issue of auction of space-based spectrum…and we will come out with the consultation paper in due course,” Trai chairman PD Vaghela had said last month.
“We can suggest that the space spectrum should be put to auction, but that should also not kill the sector. That is very important. Any system which we will bring in, will be to actually encourage and promote investment in the sector and not increase any burden and that is the biggest challenge and we are conscious of these,” he added.
Apart from OneWeb, companies like Space X-owned Starlink, Tata’s Nelco, Jio Satellite are in fray to launch the satellite communication services in the country.
In October last year, OneWeb had launched 36 satellites from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and NewSpace India Limited (NSIL).