OneWeb Satellites, a London-based rival for SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband network, said it was closing in on contracts that would help pay for the expansion of its own ‘constellation’ of communications satellites.
Last week, 36 of OneWeb’s satellites were launched into low Earth orbit, taking its total to 146 out of a planned 648.
Today, chief executive Neil Masterson said the startup is at various late-stage talks with potential possible telecoms, maritime and aviation partners in the UK, Europe, Canada, Australia and Africa.
These range from “quite advanced conversations” to “memoranda of understanding,” Masterson told Bloomberg, adding that the network is on track to go live in and around the UK, Canada, the Nordics and Greenland by the end of 2021.
Mission success! ???? #OneWebLaunch Thanks to the hard work of our incredible team and partners, we’ve successfully launched 36 satellites by @Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, with signal acquisition confirmed for all satellites ???? pic.twitter.com/1yuB7kAfF9
— OneWeb (@OneWeb) March 25, 2021
OneWeb has been in talks with BT Group PLC (LON:BT.A) to sell capacity and facilitate broadband connections for rural customers in the UK, Bloomberg has reported
Masterson joined OneWeb late last year after the UK government spent £400m rescuing the company from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US, apparently on the recommendation of Downing Street adviser Dominc Cummings. Other investors include India’s Bharti Global and SoftBank.
With the company still needing around US$1bn to fund its full network, Masterson told the newswire he was confident that the investment will be secured.
Differing from SpaceX’s Starlink direct-to-consumer model, OneWeb’s plan is to sell capacity wholesale to businesses and governments, with early contracts in Alaska and Canada.
OneWeb has been in talks with BT Group PLC (LON:BT.A) to sell capacity and facilitate broadband connections for rural customers in the UK, Bloomberg has reported.