OneWeb satellites will soon provide space-based Internet services worldwide

Powered by Bharti Enterprise, OneWeb is just a step away from completing its constellation of over 600 satellites in low-Earth orbit, paving the way to deliver broadband internet services from space to every corner of the world.

OneWeb, a company backed by the UK Government, Bharti Enterprises, Eutelsat, SoftBank, Hughes Networks and Hanwha, has internet services from space in countries above 50 degrees north latitude – Alaska, Canada, Greenland, the UK and Northern Europe – introduced.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Launch Vehicle Mark-3 (LVM3) is scheduled to launch 36 OneWeb satellites from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota on March 26, a move that will expand the UK-based company’s existing constellation 582 satellites.

We’re just one launch away from global coverage. This latest ISRO/NSIL launch will mark over 600 satellites in space, which is the number needed to become commercially operational, a spokesman for OneWeb told PTI.

NewsSpace India Limited (NSIL) is the commercial arm of ISRO which is also tasked with having the industry build rockets and satellites for the delivery of space services.

Weather permitting, ISRO’s LVM3 will launch 36 OneWeb satellites into low Earth orbit on March 26th. This will be the second time OneWeb has used ISRO’s satellite launch services. The first batch of 36 OneWeb satellites was launched from Sriharikota on October 23 last year.

The upcoming launch aboard ISRO’s LVM3 will be the 18th launch for OneWeb. On March 9, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched 40 OneWeb satellites into orbit.

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By the end of this year, we plan to initiate services around the world,” the spokesman said.

OneWeb plans to launch services in India later this year, subject to regulatory approvals, and has already received Global Mobile Personal Communications by Satellite Services (GMPCS) approval from the Department of Telecommunications, as well as approval to establish a ground station.

Other approvals must be obtained from the Department of Space. We’ll have clarity on that once the space policy is out, Lt. Gen. AK Bhatt (retd), director-general of the Indian Space Association (ISpA), the industry association for the space sector, told PTI.

Lt. Gen. Bhatt said the space policy is in the final stages of approval and is expected to be unveiled later this year.

We are confident that our services will begin for India later this year and have announced distribution agreements with Hughes to provide services, the OneWeb spokesperson said.

Private company permits, previously issued by ISRO, must now be routed through the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (INSPACe), the private sector single window node agency.

OneWeb is a wholesale provider of Internet services through its constellation of satellites, as opposed to the Starlink service offered directly to individual users by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

We offer our network services to telecommunications companies, internet service providers, corporations and governments to use our high-speed, low-latency service, the spokesman said.

OneWeb had contacted ISRO about launching 72 satellites, reportedly at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore, after it was forced to abandon agreements with Russia’s Soyuz rockets following the Ukraine conflict.

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OneWeb uses a constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites to provide broadband internet access, instead of the traditional method of using satellites placed in Geostationary Orbits (GEO) 36,000 km above the equator.

LEO satellites placed in orbits from 200 km to 1,500 km from Earth, compared to 36,000 km for GEO satellites – significantly increase bandwidth and reduce latency in space to around 50-70 milliseconds (ms), a report by GSMA Intelligence, an industry association, said.

Latency refers to the time it takes for a packet of data to be transmitted from a user to the internet service provider over the satellite network. The latency for GEO satellite networks is in the range of 500-700 ms, which limits their use to 2G and 3G communications.

(Only the headline and image of this report may have been edited by the staff at Business Standard; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)