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Satellite Broadband Firm OneWeb UK Reveal LEO User Terminal

Tuesday, Aug 24th, 2021 (10:11 am) - Score 5,424

OneWeb, which is part owned by the UK Government, Bharti Global, Eutelsat, Softbank and Hanwha, has today taken the wraps off the small user terminal that will be used to offer broadband internet connectivity to businesses, governments and communities across the globe and in remote locations.

At present the British registered company has already launched a total of 288 small c.150kg Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites into space and their initial plan is to build a constellation of 648 satellites, which is enough for a reasonable level of global coverage by around the end of 2022. The main focus being on business, maritime and government connectivity, but a recent deal with ISP BT could also see it being used to support rural broadband and 5G too (here).

One of the key components of this service will be the user terminal, which is how customers will receive the service. OneWeb has thus developed a Compact-Electronically Steered Antenna OW1 user terminal with help from Intellian Technologies and Collins Aerospace (pictured top), which is a low-profile unit that should be able to fit into a wide range of settings.

The flat-panel antenna at the heart of the unit is intended to be easily installed, only requiring basic mounting and wiring skills to install and, coming in at 50x43x10 cm and around 10kg in weight, is about the size of a briefcase.

The antenna will integrate with a OneWeb satellite modem in an environmentally sealed outdoor unit, which can be installed using an optional stabilized J-mount and will connect via a single combined power and data cable to an indoor unit that will in turn provide connectivity to the end user devices, such as laptops or routers.

Michele Franci, OneWeb’s Chief of Delivery, said:

“We are so excited to bring this user terminal to market, and we thank Intellian and Collins for their invaluable partnership in making it a reality. OneWeb’s vision of connecting the world requires the hardware to do it, and we are pleased to be able to offer an affordable, compact and easy-to-install user terminal.

It will connect and empower communities and small to medium-sized businesses, opening up applications for a wide variety of purposes, including community Wi-Fi in remote regions; rural retail point-of-sale systems; agricultural Internet of Things functions; and internet service in hotels, health clinics, research stations and more, located in places that the status quo has left unconnected.”

OneWeb’s first initial commercial (beta) services are predicted to go live across parts of the United Kingdom, Alaska, Canada, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, and the Arctic seas around November 2021 (i.e. from 50th parallel and above). In theory, this could offer ultrafast broadband speeds of 100Mbps+ and fast latency times of 40ms or less, although OneWeb doesn’t sell directly to end-users like Starlink does (we expect BT and Eutelsat’s KONNECT ISP may provide a solution in the UK at some point).

Otherwise, OneWeb and Intellian plan to host an unboxing event for the C-ESA terminal kit later this year.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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3 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Connor says:

    Wonder what the power consumption will be compared to StarLink’s offerings.

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Not strictly relevant as this doesn’t look to be an individual consumer device like Starlink’s dish/router, it seems designed more for placing on ships, planes or community centres etc.

    2. Avatar photo Pikkoz says:

      Same as a normal router? I wish! Starlink antenna/dish consumption is ~90W in idle and average ~110W when active but can peak to 190W.
      I’m no expert but I doubt OneWeb terminal will be very different.

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