OneWeb Beefs Up Broadband Delivery System

(Image credit: OneWeb)

OneWeb says it has successfully launched three dozen more low-earth-orbit satellites, upping the number of in-orbit satellites to 394 for its high-speed broadband delivery service.

The satellites were riding a Russian Soyuz 2-1B rocket that lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

That 394 total to date (since 2019) represents more than 60% of OneWeb's planned 648-satellite fleet.

It is the 12th launch, and 10th in the past 12 months.

OneWeb secured over $1 billion in launch insurance back in September.

In June 2017, the FCC unanimously approved OneWeb's request to deliver its service in the U.S. market (as part of a global operation), including particularly hard-to-reach and expensive-to-reach rural areas, after FCC chairman Ajit Pai proposed approving it as a way to help close the digital divide and promote private sector investment.

His successor, Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, also supports LEOs as a way to provide broadband competition.

OneWeb filed for bankruptcy in 2020, suggesting it was on the verge of getting financing when the pandemic hit. It had already invested billions of dollars in the enterprise. 

It was able to get new funding from, among others, the British government, and emerged from bankruptcy late last year. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.