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OneWeb working to satisfy the need for connectivity in Arctic

This fall, OneWeb expects to begin providing broadband from space in Arctic area, a technology it hopes would appeal to the US military as well as other national government clients. Head of government services at OneWeb, Dylan Browne, informed SpaceNews, “Our priority right now is Alaska as well as the Arctic.” “We’ve been actively setting up partnerships with the United States government” after OneWeb emerged from bankruptcy in the month of November, according to Browne. The British government, as well as Indian telecom firm Bharti Global now jointly own the business.

OneWeb is rushing to have coverage in the Arctic, where satellite-centered networking networks are actually only accessible from Iridium. OneWeb also has 146 satellites in service after the deployment of 36 satellites on March 25. Browne said the organization wants to launch three more 36-satellite batches to reach regions north of 50 degrees latitude that will include Alaska and most of the Arctic zone. For worldwide reach, the organization is preparing a network of around 650 satellites.

Satellites from OneWeb circle the poles. “Every time we bring a satellite up, we get a concentration over the poles, that is very serendipitous since that’s a geopolitical interest field for the government and the Department of Defense,” Browne stated. “LEO satisfies an itch with some of the Department of Defense’s fresh and evolving challenges,” he said.

The melting ice caps in the Arctic have sparked a scramble for capital, and China and Russia are attempting to expand their spheres of control. OneWeb has the edge over rivals because of its potential to have coverage in the Arctic, according to Browne. “It can sound corny, but timing is all.”

Both government and commercial agencies are involved in satellite-centered communications in the Arctic, according to Browne. Customers include oil and gas industries, but the specific demands come from states, he added. He went on to say, “We actually only received an application from the office of the Prime Minister of Finland.” “We have a close relationship with Norway. We arranged a meeting for Icelandic regulators this week. For their maritime patrols, they want high-speed as well as low-latency satellite connectivity.”

On Friday, OneWeb reported a partnership with TrustComm Corporation, a satellite communications integrator as well as a reseller, to distribute resources to US military consumers in northern latitudes. TrustComm operates out of Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base situated in Houston, Texas, which has some DoD contract vehicles for controlled satellite networks. The US Navy is one of TrustComm’s main clients, according to Browne, which will use OneWeb’s services to offer access to ships at sea. In the beginning, only set areas in the Arctic would be covered. Mobile networks will be accessible starting in the year 2022, according to Browne. The Navy and Coast Guard groups who will be protecting the seas will benefit from this.

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