London, July 2, 2021: Bharti (Airtel)-backed OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company has announced the successful lift-off yesterday, of another 36 satellites to mark the completion of its ‘Five to 50’ mission.
With this major milestone, the Company is on the way to deliver connectivity across the United Kingdom, Canada, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, and the Arctic Region.
The completion of the latest launch will take OneWeb’s in-orbit constellation to 254 satellites, or 40% of OneWeb’s planned fleet of 648 LEO satellites that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity. OneWeb intends to make global service available in 2022.
Service demonstrations will begin this summer in several key locations – including Alaska and Canada – as OneWeb prepares for commercial service in the next six months. OneWeb is on track for full global coverage by June 2022 with a LEO constellation of 648 satellites.
Offering enterprise-grade connectivity services, the company has already announced distribution partnerships across several industries and businesses including with BT, ROCK Network, AST Group, PDI, Alaska Communications and others, as OneWeb expands its global capabilities.
The Company is engaging with telecommunications providers, ISPs, and governments worldwide to offer its low-latency, high-speed connectivity services and sees growing demand for new solutions to connect the hardest to reach places.
The launch of the latest 36 satellites is conducted by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrom. Liftoff occurred on 1 July at 6:18 PM IST. OneWeb’s satellites separated from the rocket in 9 batches over a period of 3 hours 52 minutes.
Says Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises and Executive Chairman of OneWeb:“Today’s momentous milestone demonstrates that OneWeb is now a leader in LEO broadband connectivity, serving a wide range of stakeholders across the Northern Hemisphere. This fifth launch amid the unprecedented global pandemic is truly remarkable and I congratulate the management team and fellow shareholders on the success.”
Added OneWeb CEO,Neil Masterson: “This is a truly historic moment for OneWeb, the culmination of months of positive momentum in our ‘Five to 50’ programme, increased investment from our global partners and the rapid onboarding of new customers. We are incredibly excited to start delivering high-speed, low-latency connectivity first to the UK and the Arctic region and to see our network scale over the coming months as we continue building to global service.”
Bharti doubles investment in OneWeb
Last week, Bharti announced that it is to invest an additional $500m into the company, effectively doubling its own stake and bringing OneWeb’s total funding to $2.4 billion
Bharti will now hold 38.6%. The UK Government, Eutelsat and Softbank will each own 19.3%.
Says Mittal: “Bharti’s doubling of its investment earlier this week is testament to the commitment to OneWeb’s mission. We now look forward to the next chapter in OneWeb’s story, preparing the company for commercial service in the less than six months to deliver our global connectivity solutions to communities around the world. We wait for confirmation of satellite acquisition in the coming hours.”