Showing posts with label OneWeb. Show all posts
Showing posts with label OneWeb. Show all posts

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Hughes and OneWeb alliance targets enterprise services

Hughes Network Systems and OneWeb have signed a distribution agreement in the U.S. focused on enterprise services. 

In India, the parties have entered into an MOU for a strategic agreement to distribute services to large enterprises, small and medium businesses, government, telcos and ISPs, including in the rural and remote parts of the country. 

Hughes and OneWeb also stated that thy intend to work together to broaden distribution globally, with Hughes to offer OneWeb's low-latency, high-speed connectivity for markets such as enterprise, government, commercial aviation and maritime, cellular backhaul, and community Wi-Fi hotspots.   

The companies also highlighted a demonstration of multi-orbit connectivity in action. The test, recorded on August 26, featured the successful real-time, seamless switching between the Hughes JUPITER 2 geostationary, high-throughput satellite (HTS) and OneWeb's low latency, high speed LEO constellation. 


Hughes' ActiveTechnologies software instantaneously evaluated the type of traffic and transmitted it over the most efficient path: latency-sensitive activities (like fast-twitch video gaming and a video call) were transmitted via OneWeb; bandwidth-intensive activities like video streaming were transmitted via JUPITER HTS.

Hughes, through its parent company EchoStar, is an investor in OneWeb. It is also an ecosystem partner to OneWeb, developing gateway electronics and the core module that will power every user terminal for the system. And Hughes is the prime contractor on an agreement with the U.S. Air Force Research Lab to integrate and demonstrate managed LEO SATCOM using OneWeb capacity in the Arctic region.

OneWeb's initial constellation will consist of 648 LEO satellites. Services will begin this year to the Arctic region, including Alaska, Canada, and the UK. By late 2022, OneWeb will be offering its high-speed, low latency connectivity services globally. Service testing on the satellites already in orbit is underway, using gateways that Hughes is building for the network. Results are positive, including seamless satellite and beam handovers, high speeds and low latency.

Hughes is developing its next-generation JUPITER 3 Ultra-High Density Satellite, expected to launch in the second half of 2022.

Pradman Kaul, President, Hughes, said: "The future of connectivity depends on a worldwide network of multiple transports, including terrestrial, geostationary and Low Earth Orbit satellite services. OneWeb's system enhances the Hughes portfolio of networking capabilities, introducing a low-latency option with global reach that complements GEO satellite capacity density and capability to meet our customers' needs. As a case in point, in India which has been starved of high-throughput satellite services, the OneWeb services will help us meet the tremendous backhaul and broadband demand."

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

AT&T inks deal with OneWeb for coverage in remote locations

AT&T signed a strategic agreement with OneWeb to provide LEO satellite coverage for AT&T business customers into remote and challenging geographic locations. The new connectivity will complement existing AT&T access technologies.

The AT&T service will be supported by OneWeb’s network of satellites. OneWeb has launched 288 satellites and expects to attain global coverage with a total fleet of 648 satellites by the end of 2022. AT&T business and government customers in Alaska and northern U.S. states will be covered later this year.

“Working with OneWeb, we’ll be able to enhance high-speed connectivity in places that we don’t serve today and meet our customers wherever they are,” said Scott Mair, President, Network Engineering and Operations, AT&T. “We’re expanding our network with one more option to help ensure that our business customers have the high-speed, low-latency connectivity they need to thrive as the nation recovers from COVID-19.”

“OneWeb’s enterprise-grade network has a unique capability to serve hard-to-reach businesses and communities. Our work with AT&T will focus on how satellite technology can support improved capacity and coverage in remote, rural and challenging geographic locations,” said  Neil Masterson,  OneWeb Chief Executive Officer. “Today’s agreement with AT&T demonstrates OneWeb’s execution momentum and the confidence customers such as AT&T have in its services and offering.”

https://about.att.com/story/2021/att_oneweb.html

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

OneWeb tests Kymeta's LEO satellite terminal

OneWeb completed pilot testing of Kymeta's u8 based LEO terminal with OneWeb’s LEO satellite constellation.

Kymeta and OneWeb performed a series of LEO satellite acquisition, tracking and throughput measurements in Toulouse, France. Kymeta plans to leverage these results in the definition of future-proof solutions that are fully integrated and compatible with the rapidly expanding OneWeb system.

The demonstrations in Toulouse showed full-duplex communications between the Kymeta u8 and OneWeb’s satellites. The single aperture antenna achieved downlink and uplink speeds of more than 200 Mbps down and more than 40Mbps up respectively over repeated testing.

The u8 is the first commercially available flat panel antenna to interoperate with the OneWeb satellite constellation. OneWeb is working with several new user terminal integrators like Kymeta to explore solutions that meet the needs of Government, Military, Enterprise, Maritime and first responder customers. The commercially available Kymeta u8 supports fixed and mobile services enabling choice and redundancy for satellite users, and has demonstrated interoperability with low Earth orbit (LEO) and geostationary (GEO) satellite constellations.

“We are excited about the performance demonstrated in these early pilot test results and pleased to work with Kymeta as a trusted and knowledgeable partner,” said Valery Gineste Senior Director of Technology at OneWeb. “The u8 will offer another great choice for OneWeb’s end-customers, particularly those with constrained space requirements or who need communications on the move when OneWeb mobility services start to become available from the end of 2022.”

“The collaboration with OneWeb supports Kymeta’s priority mobile markets, and our solution is a natural fit for OneWeb customer needs,” said Neville Meijers, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at Kymeta. “Military, government, enterprise, and first responder markets require demanding, mission critical communications, and we can deliver seamless mobile connectivity to those customers wherever they are in the world.”


Monday, May 31, 2021

OneWeb now has 218 LEO satellites in orbit

Arianespace successfully launches 36 satellites from the Vostochny Cosmodrome on behalf of OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company. Arianespace has deployed 218 satellites in low Earth orbit for the constellation.

This was the fourth in a five-launch programme to fulfil the ‘Five to 50’ service, enabling OneWeb to offer connectivity across the United Kingdom, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic Seas and Canada. The completed programme will deliver 80 percent of the constellation required to enable its connectivity solution to reach all regions north of 50 degrees latitude by June 2021.

OneWeb said it is on track to start its commercial service by the end of the year.

This was the first batch of satellites manufactured by OneWeb Satellites at its new factory in Space Coast, Florida. 

https://www.arianespace.com/press-release/flight-st32-arianespace-successfully-deploys-oneweb-constellation-satellites/

https://www.oneweb.world/media-center/media-advisory

https://youtu.be/37D04uzfyus

Sunday, April 25, 2021

OneWeb launches 36 more satellites bringing constellation to 182

A Russian Soyuz rocket lauched 36 OneWeb broadband satellites from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Amur Oblast, in the Russian Far East. 

The launch brings OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation to 182 satellites, and is the third launch in OneWeb’s ‘Five to 50’ programme, to deliver its connectivity solution to regions north of 50 degrees latitude by June 2021.

OneWeb’s ‘Five to 50’ programme aims to connect broadband data users in the northern hemisphere, with services covering the United Kingdom, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic Seas and Canada. Service will be ready to start by the end of year, with global service available in 2022.

OneWeb also highlighted recent distribution signings across multiple industries with The AST Group, PDI, among others.

OneWeb also agreed its latest MoU with the Government of Kazakhstan this month as it continues to demonstrate the company’s commercial viability and the confidence customers have in its services and offering.

https://www.oneweb.world/

  • In March 2021, OneWeb conducted its first network demonstrations to the U.S. Government and will be rolling out additional demonstration kits and Service Demo-centres in locations such as: Westcott 5G Centre, U.K., Talkeetna, Alaska, in the Washington D.C. area and more.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

OneWeb launches 36 satellites, bringing its constellation to 146

OneWeb confirmed the successful launch of all 36 satellites by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, bringing the company's in-orbit constellation to 146 satellites. 

OneWeb said this is the second in a five-launch programme that will enable OneWeb’s connectivity solution to reach all regions north of 50 degrees latitude by the middle of 2021, with service ready to start by year's end, giving OneWeb the ability to connect millions of consumers in the northern hemisphere. These services will cover the United Kingdom, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic Seas and Canada, and will be switched on before the end of the year. 

OneWeb anticipates launching global services in 2022. The company plans to have a fleet of 648 LEO satellites.

Neil Masterson, OneWeb CEO commented: “This is the second of our ‘Five to 50’ launch series and represents a key moment in OneWeb’s return. The next launch in the series is scheduled for the end of April, as we continue our drive towards commercial service this year. OneWeb is rising to the challenge of our mission to provide connectivity to everyone, everywhere, all the time. Backed by exemplary shareholders, we are connecting the world.”

https://www.oneweb.world/media-center/successful-launch-marks-key-milestone-for-onewebs-five-to-50-ambition

Thursday, August 27, 2020

FCC grants OneWeb permission for 2,000 satellite constellation

The FCC granted OneWeb with market access in the 37.5-42 GHz (space-to-Earth), 47.2-50.2 GHz (Earth-to-space), and 50.4-51.4 GHz (Earth-to-space) frequency bands, subject to sharing conditions and other requirements, for a proposed 2,000-satellite non-geostationary-satellite orbit (NGSO) broadband constellation.

OneWeb proposes to add a V-band payload to the 720 satellite Ku/Ka-band constellation previously approved by the Commission and proposes 1,280 additional V-band satellites operating at a nominal altitude of 8,500 km.  The OneWeb constellation will be authorized by the United Kingdom.

One condition of the grant is that OneWeb must submit a plan within six months for decommissioning and debris mitigation for its MEO satellites.

  • In July 2020, the UK government (through the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and Bharti Global Limited were confirmed as buyers of the OneWeb business through a court-supervised sales process. The deal is aimed at ensuring sufficient funding for the deployment of the OneWeb system. Bharti Airtel, is the third largest mobile operator in the world, with over 425 million customers. Bharti Airtel has its own extensive mobile broadband networks and enterprise business, which will act as the testing ground for all OneWeb products, services, and applications. Bharti will contribute significant contract value to OneWeb through its presence across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, where the terrain necessitates the use of satellite-based connectivity, providing a near-term anchor customer for large-scale global deployment of OneWeb’s services. 
https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-grants-oneweb-us-market-access-expanded-ngso-constellation


OneWeb looks to increase its constellation up to 48,000 satellites

OneWeb, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March, is now asking the FCC for permission to increase the size of its planned constellation up to 48,000 LEO satellites.

OneWeb said a larger constellation will allow for greater flexibility to meet soaring global connectivity demands.

To date, OneWeb has successfully launched 74 satellites and developed a significant portion of its ground network.

In August 2019, OneWeb met the requirements of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and succeeded in bringing into use its global priority spectrum rights in the Ku- and Ka-band.

Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb said: "We have always believed that LEO satellites must be part of converged broadband network strategies to enable forward-thinking governments and businesses to deliver much-needed reliable connectivity, create more pathways to 5G and connect to the IoT future everywhere on earth. This significant increase in the size of the OneWeb constellation enables long-term flexibility and ensures we will be ready for the demand, future growth, and technology changes to come."

OneWeb files for Chapter 11

OneWeb filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a federal court in New York. The company said uncertainty due to the COVID-19 crisis derailed advanced negotiations might have fully funded the company through its deployment and commercial launch.

OneWeb said it intends to use these proceedings to pursue a sale of its business in order to maximize the value of the company.

So far, OneWeb has launched 74 satellites as part of its constellation, secured valuable global spectrum, begun development on a range of user terminals for a variety of customer markets, has half of its 44 ground stations completed or in development, and performed successful demonstrations of its system with broadband speeds in excess of 400 Mbps and latency of 32 ms. In addition, OneWeb’s commercial team has seen significant early global demand for OneWeb’s high-speed, low-latency connectivity services from governments and leaders in the automotive, maritime, enterprise, and aviation industries.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

OneWeb looks to increase its constellation up to 48,000 satellites

OneWeb, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March, is now asking the FCC for permission to increase the size of its planned constellation up to 48,000 LEO satellites.

OneWeb said a larger constellation will allow for greater flexibility to meet soaring global connectivity demands.

To date, OneWeb has successfully launched 74 satellites and developed a significant portion of its ground network.

In August 2019, OneWeb met the requirements of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and succeeded in bringing into use its global priority spectrum rights in the Ku- and Ka-band.

Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb said: "We have always believed that LEO satellites must be part of converged broadband network strategies to enable forward-thinking governments and businesses to deliver much-needed reliable connectivity, create more pathways to 5G and connect to the IoT future everywhere on earth. This significant increase in the size of the OneWeb constellation enables long-term flexibility and ensures we will be ready for the demand, future growth, and technology changes to come."

OneWeb files for Chapter 11

OneWeb filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a federal court in New York. The company said uncertainty due to the COVID-19 crisis derailed advanced negotiations might have fully funded the company through its deployment and commercial launch.

OneWeb said it intends to use these proceedings to pursue a sale of its business in order to maximize the value of the company.

So far, OneWeb has launched 74 satellites as part of its constellation, secured valuable global spectrum, begun development on a range of user terminals for a variety of customer markets, has half of its 44 ground stations completed or in development, and performed successful demonstrations of its system with broadband speeds in excess of 400 Mbps and latency of 32 ms. In addition, OneWeb’s commercial team has seen significant early global demand for OneWeb’s high-speed, low-latency connectivity services from governments and leaders in the automotive, maritime, enterprise, and aviation industries.

Adrian Steckel, Chief Executive Officer of OneWeb, stated, “OneWeb has been building a truly global communications network to provide high-speed low latency broadband everywhere. Our current situation is a consequence of the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. We remain convinced of the social and economic value of our mission to connect everyone everywhere. Today is a difficult day for us at OneWeb. So many people have dedicated so much energy, effort, and passion to this company and our mission. Our hope is that this process will allow us to carve a path forward that leads to the completion of our mission, building on the years of effort and the billions of invested capital. It is with a very heavy heart that we have been forced to reduce our workforce and enter the Chapter 11 process while the Company’s remaining employees are focused on responsibly managing our nascent constellation and working with the Court and investors.”

http://www.omniagentsolutions.com/onewebglobal

OneWeb prepares to launch its LEO constellation

OneWeb, which is planning to deploy a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites, secured $1.25 billion in new capital, enabling it to start mass production of satellites through its joint venture with Airbus. This round was led by SoftBank, Grupo Salinas, Qualcomm, and the Government of Rwanda. OneWeb has now raised to $3.4 billion to date.

OneWeb said it will now "embark on the largest satellite launch campaign in history." Satellites will be built at its new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Exploration Park, Florida. The first launch occured on February 27th.  Starting in Q4, OneWeb will begin monthly launches of more than 30 satellites at a time, creating an initial constellation of 650 satellites to enable full global coverage. Further phases are planned.

"This latest funding round, our largest to date, makes OneWeb’s service inevitable and is a vote of confidence from our core investor base in our business model and the OneWeb value proposition," said Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb. "With the recent successful launch of our first six satellites, near-completion of our innovative satellite manufacturing facility with our partner Airbus, progress towards fully securing our ITU priority spectrum position, and the signing of our first customer contracts, OneWeb is moving from the planning and development stage to deployment of our full constellation. Our success is made possible thanks to the backing of our investors and the cooperation of our world class commercial partners including Arianespace, Airbus, Qualcomm Technologies Inc., Virgin, and Hughes.”

Sunday, March 29, 2020

OneWeb files for Chapter 11

OneWeb filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a federal court in New York. The company said uncertainty due to the COVID-19 crisis derailed advanced negotiations might have fully funded the company through its deployment and commercial launch.

OneWeb said it intends to use these proceedings to pursue a sale of its business in order to maximize the value of the company.

So far, OneWeb has launched 74 satellites as part of its constellation, secured valuable global spectrum, begun development on a range of user terminals for a variety of customer markets, has half of its 44 ground stations completed or in development, and performed successful demonstrations of its system with broadband speeds in excess of 400 Mbps and latency of 32 ms. In addition, OneWeb’s commercial team has seen significant early global demand for OneWeb’s high-speed, low-latency connectivity services from governments and leaders in the automotive, maritime, enterprise, and aviation industries.

Adrian Steckel, Chief Executive Officer of OneWeb, stated, “OneWeb has been building a truly global communications network to provide high-speed low latency broadband everywhere. Our current situation is a consequence of the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. We remain convinced of the social and economic value of our mission to connect everyone everywhere. Today is a difficult day for us at OneWeb. So many people have dedicated so much energy, effort, and passion to this company and our mission. Our hope is that this process will allow us to carve a path forward that leads to the completion of our mission, building on the years of effort and the billions of invested capital. It is with a very heavy heart that we have been forced to reduce our workforce and enter the Chapter 11 process while the Company’s remaining employees are focused on responsibly managing our nascent constellation and working with the Court and investors.”

http://www.omniagentsolutions.com/onewebglobal

OneWeb prepares to launch its LEO constellation

OneWeb, which is planning to deploy a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites, secured $1.25 billion in new capital, enabling it to start mass production of satellites through its joint venture with Airbus. This round was led by SoftBank, Grupo Salinas, Qualcomm, and the Government of Rwanda. OneWeb has now raised to $3.4 billion to date.

OneWeb said it will now "embark on the largest satellite launch campaign in history." Satellites will be built at its new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Exploration Park, Florida. The first launch occured on February 27th.  Starting in Q4, OneWeb will begin monthly launches of more than 30 satellites at a time, creating an initial constellation of 650 satellites to enable full global coverage. Further phases are planned.

"This latest funding round, our largest to date, makes OneWeb’s service inevitable and is a vote of confidence from our core investor base in our business model and the OneWeb value proposition," said Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb. "With the recent successful launch of our first six satellites, near-completion of our innovative satellite manufacturing facility with our partner Airbus, progress towards fully securing our ITU priority spectrum position, and the signing of our first customer contracts, OneWeb is moving from the planning and development stage to deployment of our full constellation. Our success is made possible thanks to the backing of our investors and the cooperation of our world class commercial partners including Arianespace, Airbus, Qualcomm Technologies Inc., Virgin, and Hughes.”

On the additional investment, Marcelo Claure, COO of SoftBank Group Corp. and CEO of SoftBank Group International said: “OneWeb has extended its first-mover advantage and is on track to become the world’s largest and first truly global communications network. At SoftBank, our aim is to invest in transformative companies at the leading edge of technology disruption. OneWeb’s potential is undeniable as the growth in data from 5G, IoT, autonomous driving and other new technologies drives demand for capacity above and beyond the limits of the existing infrastructure.”

OneWeb’s priority rights to a large block of globally harmonized spectrum and its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation design will enable a unique combination of high speed, low latency, and truly global service. OneWeb’s network will go beyond the limits of existing infrastructure, enabling connectivity for rural communities and schools as well as for business and industries that demand seamless global connectivity solutions such as Aviation, Maritime, Backhaul, and Land Mobility. OneWeb’s customers will be able to develop and support a wide range of emerging applications that require real-time communication and collaboration.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

OneWeb completes Ku- and Ka-band spectrum requirement

OneWeb’s satellites have been transmitting at the designated frequencies in the Ku- and Ka-band spectrum in the correct orbit for more than 90 days. This achievement means that OneWeb has met the requirements to secure spectrum bands over which it has priority rights under ITU rules and regulations.

OneWeb said it is well on its way to securing spectrum rights to high priority Ku-band spectrum for service links, and Ka-band for its global gateways. It will now have access to over 6 GHz of spectrum that will enable it to deliver its high-speed, low latency connectivity.

“Spectrum is a scarce resource and the ITU plays a vital role in the global management for access. The harsh reality for anyone trying to make a real impact on global connectivity is that no matter how good your network is, success is not possible without the right spectrum. With our spectrum now in use, OneWeb has proved it can bring together all the elements required – in space, on the ground, and in between – to change the face of connectivity everywhere”, said Ruth Pritchard-Kelly, Vice President of Regulatory for OneWeb.

This achievement is the latest in a string of major milestones charting OneWeb’s progress towards commercial service and full global coverage by 2021, including the successful launch of its first 6 satellites in February, the opening of its state-of-the-art Florida manufacturing facility earlier this month, and proving its ability to deliver low latency, high-speed services through its recent full HD streaming tests.

During the remainder of 2019, OneWeb will focus on commencing its monthly launch programme of more than 30 satellites per month, building an initial constellation of 650 satellites on its way to 1,980 satellites. The first phase of the constellation will provide global coverage; and further additions to the network will be focused on adding capacity to meet growing customer demands.

https://www.oneweb.world/

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Seamless Air Alliance to ride OneWeb's LEO satellites

A new Seamless Air Alliance has been formed with the goal of providing better in-flight connectivity for passengers across airlines and irrespective of routes. Mobile operators would be able to extend seamless connectivity to their customers while in flight.

Key members of the alliance include Airbus, Delta, OneWeb, Sprint, and Bharti Airtel.

Low-latency, high-bandwidth in-flight connectivity will be delivered via OneWeb's forthcoming constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. The partners expect to be able to lower costs as well.

The alliance aims to streamline system integration and certification, providing open specifications for interoperability, increasing accessibility for passengers, and enabling simple and integrated billing.

"What if the best internet you ever experienced was in the air? Keeping this goal in mind, together, we will enable an affordable and frictionless experience for passengers everywhere," said Greg Wyler, Founder and Executive Chairman of OneWeb. "With the launch of our first production satellites set for later this year, we're one step closer to bridging the global Digital Divide on land and in the air."

"Easy-to-use, high-speed connectivity is part of the next revolution in aerospace," said Marc Fontaine, Airbus Digital Transformation Officer. "We're excited to create this seamless experience for our airline customers and their passengers. As we showed with our Skywise aviation data platform, Airbus is committed to innovation that creates value across the aviation industry."


  • OneWeb has previously disclosed $500 million in finding from Airbus, Bharti Enterprises, Hughes Network Systems, (Hughes), a subsidiary of EchoStar Corp., Intelsat, Qualcomm, The Coca-Cola Company, Totalplay, a Grupo Salinas Company, owned by Ricardo B. Salinas, and Richard Branson's Virgin Group. OneWeb aims to launch a constellation of 648 small, low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites to provide global broadband and mobile telephone services. The system promises to bring more than 10 Tbps of new capacity.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Intelsat seeks opportunity through OneWeb, only to be disappointed

by James E. Carroll

From its inception in August 1964, Intelsat has been at the forefront of satellite communications. It has also always been an organisation governed by considerable complexity. Intelsat's original structure was as an intergovernmental organisation (IGO) with 11 participating countries. Over the decades, hundreds of earth stations were built across the planet to receive and transmit signals from dozens of Intelsat satellites in orbit. Though its charter was that of a commercial endeavour, eventually Intelsat came to be governed by 100 member countries and its decision-making process became every bit as complex as if it were an agency of the United Nations. By the turn of the millennium, the public corporatisation movement was in full swing across the telecoms sector as state-owned carriers lost their monopoly status and were forced to attract private-sector investors and compete in the market. For the space sector, privitisation and competition also became mandates, and so in 2001 Intelsat transitioned into a publicly-traded company. Since then, it has experienced a very tumultuous period of reorganisations, buyouts, mergers and public relisting. Some of these bumps-in-the-road were covered in the first part of this article.

Building and launching satellites is extremely capital intensive. Owning and operating hundreds of earth stations in over 150 countries likewise requires a high operating expense budget. After decades in operation, Intelsat is laden with $14.523 billion of debt with many long-term bond holders. On a positive note, the company's revenue breakdown is well balanced: 39% for network service; 42% for media revenue; 17% for government revenue. Customer contracts in each of these segments are predictable and stable. However, though its contracted backlog amounts to $8.5 billion (future revenue under existing contracts), the company has struggled to convince investors that its best days are still ahead. Discounting for the heavy debt load, Intelsat’s market capitalisation is only $391.2 million. There are many cloud-focused software newcomers in Silicon Valley with higher market valuations, but nowhere near the potential of impacting so many people across the globe as Intelsat.

Looking for growth

Some might see Intelsat as a stodgy veteran with a history dating back to the Apollo moon shot era, but its current crop of EPIC Next Generation satellites has accelerated the pace of satellite design innovation. The new designs offer far more capacity, flexibility and potential lifespan than has been achieved to date. As the legacy satellite fleet reaches retirement, the new birds should easily absorb all the traffic from existing contracts while offering plenty of capacity for new applications such as in-flight connectivity for aircraft, mobile backhaul and broadband connectivity in remote locations.

Meanwhile, testing last autumn revealed that the Intelsat EPICNG  platform is exceeding its performance expectations. Specifically, Intelsat cited a 165% to 330% increase in spectral efficiency with ground platforms and modem technologies, and up to a 300% improvement in throughput using next generation antenna technology with its new EPICNG high-throughput satellite (HTS) platform.

The company said testing also confirmed that the EPICNG platform exceeds performance expectations transmitting to and from a flat-panel antenna designed for a new class of small remotely piloted aircraft. Now that it has four EPICNG  satellites in orbit and proven performance results from live testing, Intelsat's business trajectory should be reassuring to investors interested in space. But there is a new wave of hot start-ups in the space race that are gaining attention and investments.

OneWeb enters the scene

In January 2015, Richard Branson made headlines worldwide by announcing audacious plans to build, launch and operate the world's largest satellite network using Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne space plane to put 648 small satellites into low earth orbit. OneWeb (previously WorldVu Satellite) initially announced $500 million in financial backing by the Virgin Group and Arianespace. Intelsat also announced an equity investment in the firm. The venture recruited Greg Wyler, who founded O3b Networks in 2007, as its leader. O3b Networks (the 'other 3 billion' people without Internet access). and which was recently acquired by SES, operates a constellation of 12 high throughput satellites (HTS) in a medium earth orbit (MEO) around 8,000 km from the Earth. O3b offers customers a 'fibre in the sky' solution, with each of the constellation's beams capable of delivering up to 1.6 Gbit/s of throughput at a low latency of less than 150 milliseconds, a significant improvement over geostationary connectivity. OneWeb now aims to replicate and expand on O3b's success by using hundreds of low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites instead of MEO satellites.

In June 2015, following a bidding competition, OneWeb selected Airbus Defence and Space for the construction of its broadband Internet satellites. The companies set an aggressive timeline to get its first satellites in orbit by the end of 2017 – an unprecedented pace. In December 2016, OneWeb raised $1 billion from SoftBank Group and $200 million from existing investors. Earlier this year, OneWeb announced it expected to sell all its capacity by launch time. The only announced capacity sold was for a joint Gogo and Intelsat venture. OneWeb has gone on to suggest that it might quadruple the size of its already massive satellite constellation to over 2,500 transmitting units in orbit.

Intelsat sees an opportunity, only to be disappointed

On February 28, 2017, Intelsat and OneWeb agreed to merge in a share-for-share transaction. Under the deal, SoftBank was to invest $1.7 billion in newly issued common and preferred shares of the combined company. This provided for debt exchange offers to certain existing Intelsat bondholders. The stated goal was to reduce Intelsat's debt by approximately $3.6 billion via this $1.7 billion investment. From a technology perspective, the deal sought to integrate OneWeb's LEO satellite constellation with Intelsat’s global scale, terrestrial infrastructure and GEO satellite network.

In June, after several rounds of negotiations, the merger talks collapsed. The apparent reason was that Intelsat bondholders were unsatisfied with Softbank's offer to pay only a portion of the face value of their notes. Concerning the collapsed merger, Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler said:

-    "There were many stakeholders’ interests that needed to be satisfied in this complex transaction. We are disappointed that our bondholders were unwilling to accept the terms of the exchange offers presented over the course of this process. Even without a merger of our companies, the pre-existing commercial agreement among Intelsat, OneWeb and SoftBank will continue. Under this agreement, I plan to jointly develop integrated solutions utilising both fleets and to act as a sub-distributor to SoftBank for the attractive application segments of mobility, energy, government and connected car".

On June-22nd, the FCC approved a OneWeb's request to access the U.S. satellite market. Specifically, the FCC approved OneWeb proposal to access the U.S. market using a global network of 720 low-Earth orbit satellites using the Ka (20/30 GHz) and Ku (11/14 GHz) frequency bands.

In conclusion, this week’s successful launch of Intelsat 35e is a positive development for Intelsat even though its proposed merger with OneWeb has been withdrawn. OneWeb's LEO satellites would benefit from Intelsat’s GEO capacity, and Intelsat would be rejuvenated by opportunities such as connected cars.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

OneWeb Advances its Vision for Ku-band LEO Constellation

OneWeb, the venture planning to build, deploy and operate a low earth orbit (“LEO”) Ku-band satellite constellation, announced $500 million in funding from  Airbus, Bharti Enterprises, Hughes Network Systems, (Hughes), a subsidiary of EchoStar Corp., Intelsat, Qualcomm, The Coca-Cola Company, Totalplay, a Grupo Salinas Company, owned by Ricardo B. Salinas, and Richard Branson's Virgin Group.

"The dream of fully bridging the digital divide is on track to be a reality in 2019,” said Greg Wyler, founder of OneWeb. “Together with our committed and visionary founding shareholders we have the key elements in place: regulatory, technology, launches, satellites, as well as commercial operators in over 50 countries and territories. We are committed to solving one of the world’s biggest problems – enabling affordable broadband Internet access for everyone. We are excited about the next phase, which will involve working with countries, telecom operators and aid organizations to help them realize their goals of open and ubiquitous access.”

Some highlights on the OneWeb plan:
  • OneWeb aims to launch a constellation of 648 small, low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites to provide global broadband and mobile telephone services.
  • The system will bring more than 10 Tbps of new capacity to rural areas around the globe.
  • OneWeb’s User Terminals will provide high-speed connectivity with no change in latency during satellite handovers to ensure excellent voice quality, gaming and web experience. The terminals can operate with optionally included solar panels, battery packs, and WiFi/LTE/3G and 2G radios to provide coverage directly to cell phones, tablets and laptops.
  • OneWeb's microsatellites will use onboard GPS sensors and ground-tracking measurements to know their position within meters. The satellites will be able maneuver to avoid obstacles.  They will automatically de-orbit at end-of-life to minimize the space junk problem.
  • OneWeb has developed a “Progressive Pitch” technology that enables it to use satellite spectrum in the most efficient way by gradually and slightly tilting the satellites as they approach the equator to make sure they never cause, or receive, interference from GEO satellites.
  • OneWeb has contracted Arianespace for 21 multi-satellite launches on Soyuz rockets beginning in 2017, plus options for five (5) additional Soyuz launches and three (3) Ariane 6 launches. 
  • OneWeb satellites will be launched into a near polar orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometers before raising themselves to their operational orbit.
  • OneWeb satellites will weigh less than 150kg.
  •  Virgin Galactic has been selected to provide 39 singlel-sat launches using it's LauncherOne smallsat launch vehicle.
  • Intelsat will partner with OneWeb to use OneWeb’s LEO platform, once established, to complement Intelsat’s geostationary orbit (“GEO”) satellite services, resulting in the first and only fully global, pole-to-pole high throughput satellite system. 
  • Intelsat will make a minority share investment of $25 million in OneWeb. 

http://www.oneweb.world/