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OneWeb Sign New UK Distributor Deal for Satellite Broadband

Thursday, February 17th, 2022 (11:42 am) - Score 3,840
OneWeb Speedtest Illustration

Space firm OneWeb, which is owned by a consortium that includes the UK Government and others, has signed a new deal with the Clarus Networks Group to deliver their ultrafast low-latency broadband service – delivered via satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) – across the UK and Northern Europe.

At present OneWeb has already launched a total of 428 small c.150kg Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites into space – orbiting at an altitude of around 1,200km – and their initial plan is to build a constellation of 648 (588 are needed for coverage – the rest are for redundancy), which is enough for a reasonable level of global coverage by around June 2022.

NOTE: OneWeb’s commercial service will initially serve parts of the UK, Alaska, Canada, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, and the Arctic seas – albeit focused more on government, maritime, aviation and enterprise. Community connectivity for homes will come later, via partner ISPs like BT (here) and Eutelsat (KONNECT).

The new partnership with Clarus will, they claim, enable a “fibre-like experience to benefit end-users, offering high-speed, low-latency internet access no matter how remotely located.” But before everybody gets excited, the focus of this deal is more about expanding bandwidth for a variety of industries such as Construction, Utilities and Energy.

This will bring a range of benefits including improving productivity, health and safety, asset tracking, environmental monitoring, and crew scheduling, while also helping remote employees stay connected. Clarus also aims to extend its work with healthcare providers and first responders, supporting emergency operations in hard-to-reach areas and challenging weather conditions,” said the announcement.

Eric Gillenwater, OneWeb VP & Business Head for Global Carrier and Enterprise, said:

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Clarus. OneWeb’s aim is to help our partners meet their customers needs and by integrating our network’s high-speed, low latency capabilities into their offering, we hope we can have a meaningful impact connecting multiple industries and audiences together.”

Meanwhile, the wait goes on to see if OneWeb’s partners are able to launch viable ultrafast broadband solutions to help connect homes in rural areas. However, Clarus’ new OneWeb based service, which is to be called CLEO, does mention connectivity for home workers and remote communities in their somewhat text loving presentation video.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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15 Responses
  1. Phil says:

    OneWeb will be far expensive. 5G mobile broadband are the future (soon to be 6G)

    1. Connor says:

      Not everywhere will get a usable 5G connection and they will continue to get more congested anyway, just like how 4G being the present doesn’t make this product DoA either despite being capable of anywhere between enough and massively more than you need for home broadband. That’s ignoring places that will probably never get 5G until much later in the lifecycle or just not at all.

      There will always be places where LEO satellite broadband is preferred and possibly the only real option.

    2. Dave says:

      Sat Comms are vital to shipping and islanders. The UK has many remote outposts that will benefit. Anguilla; Bermuda; British Antarctic Territory; British Indian Ocean Territory; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Montserrat; Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands; St Helena and St Helena Dependencies (Ascension and Tristan da Cunha); South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands; Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (Cyprus); and The Turks & Caicos Islands…. Although many of those already have cables, not all do.

      For some, reliant on host countries for Comms which could be snooped on too, is a concern.

    3. Dave says:

      Not to mention Falklands and other world wide military locations. Yes, official military comms exist, but the troops get nothing. I’ve paid £1 per minute while very far away. Internet slower than the slowest dial up, shared C&W satellite link for hundreds of computers. NatWest webpage took 1h to load and check my balance!

      This does have a USP. Gov usage being the primary market.

  2. Sam P says:

    I’m waiting for the virtue signallers that complain we’re littering space.

    In all seriousness, more space internet = more competition, great news for rural areas or even areas that don’t have ANY internet access.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      What do the concerns over “space junk” and the increased risks it brings, as well as the rising negative impacts upon observational sciences and our ability to spot dangerous asteroids, have to do with “virtue signalling”?

      Might as well say that concerns about the fact that cars kill people on the road is “virtue signalling”, which is not how that phrase was ever intended to be used.

      I think LEOs have a perfectly valid role to play, but as massive constellations they do come with caveats, and it’s important to tackle those and ensure that regulation keeps such things in balance with the risks.

    2. anonymous says:

      Concern about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kessler_syndrome isn’t ‘virtue signalling’. The only ‘virtue signalling’ is from the guy trying to put other people down to make themselves feel superior and failing laughably.

  3. DJI says:

    We want pricing! we want pricing! c’mon Oneweb.

    1. Phil says:

      Don’t be surprising, it will be dearer expensive!

  4. Ethel Prunehat says:

    I expect OneWeb to be crushed under the wheels of the Musk juggernaut. Hopefully the UK taxpayer won’t be on the hook for another bailout. Let’s see what happens.

    1. anonymous says:

      Meanwhile, in the EU:

      The EU is to set up its own low-earth orbit quantum-encrypted satellite communications system, with the European Commission pushing industry and member states to get to work on the €6 billion project as early as next year.

      The new broadband system will provide government and commercial internet services, over-riding the shortcomings of earth-based systems and enabling quantum-secured internet connections throughout Europe and Africa. It’s one more plank in moves towards securing the EU’s strategic autonomy, with Starlink in the US and OneWeb in the UK already building advanced, low orbit satellite internet constellations.

      Looks like someone want’s to catch up.

  5. Tim says:

    do we know when OneWeb receivers will become commercially available. I thought it was end of last year for those above 50 degrees

  6. alan says:

    I read that Oneweb were not selling direct to customers like Starlink but instead was using the path of .”middlemen”,TalkTalk,BT…etc and you would only get their internet through that path.

    1. HR2Res says:

      That is also my recollection (last I looked, which was early last Nov). So once the middlemen have added their overheads and profit margin to OneWeb’s wholesale pricing I wouldn’t mind betting the cost won’t be far off that of Starlink’s offering.

    2. NeilM says:

      I think the pricing will be more in the starlink premium range.

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