March 29, 2023: OneWeb, a competitor of Elon Musk’s Starlink internet satellite venture, aims to roll out coverage internationally after successfully which launches the final batch of satellites required for its broadband service more than the weekend.
On Sunday, the British startup launched 36 satellites from the Satish Dhawan Space academy in India, which takes its total constellation to 618 satellites. The satellites launched at 9 a.m. local time on an LVM3 rocket growth by India’s state-owned NewSpace India Limited.
While OneWeb has recently more satellites to deploy in May and June, it now has delivered internet connectivity to any spot globally, according to company employees. The firm hopes to offer its clients worldwide coverage by the year-end.
“This meant that we could give what has been missing for a long period, high-speed, low latency broadband connectivity onto every ocean-going vessel yacht, maritime industry, and oil rig offshore. Every aircraft will now be attached with a high speed, low latency connectivity,” OneWeb Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal stated on a call with reporters on Monday.
Barring some ground stations yet to be established, Mittal said most of its network’s “critical” Earth-based infrastructure is now in play.
Founded in 2012, OneWeb wants high-speed internet to the Earth from a network of less-Earth orbit satellites at about 750 miles.
OneWeb plans to launch 648 satellites, of which 588 are required for global coverage. The rest serve as spares that can step in, in case other network satellites go rogue.
OneWeb competes with various companies, including Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Amazon and Inmarsat.
In July last year, it agreed to combine with Eutelsat, the French satellite company. Management expects the mixer to be finalized by the summer.
Following the completion agreement, OneWeb plans to get a secondary list on the Stock Exchange of London.
The company is up against the fierce competition. Starlink stated that the space internet unit of Musk’s SpaceX is launching thousands of satellites to get network connectivity to places with patchy internet.