Roughly 50% of the world remains without reliable high-speed connectivity, including rural America, Europe and Asia. OneWeb, a corporation backed by over a billion dollars in investments, hopes to change that soon by bringing 3G communication to every part of the globe with its constellation of satellites. OneWeb has raised over $1.7 billion dollars from companies like Virgin Group, Coca Cola, SoftBank, Bharti Group, Qualcomm, and Airbus.
Production of the ground system has begun, writes Jonathan Shieber of Tech Crunch. A recent $190 million-dollar contract with Echostar subsidiary, Hughes Network Systems, will help lay out the ground network around the world to support the low orbit satellite system. Shipments of purpose built switching systems, outdoor modems, and power amplifiers will begin in 2018.
In all, the deal brings the total contract between OneWeb and the Echostar subsidiary to roughly $300 million.
“The start of production of the ground system is a major step towards fulfilling OneWeb’s goal of bridging the digital divide, leaving no one behind,” said Greg Wyler, Founder and Executive Chairman of OneWeb, in a statement. “We are excited to deploy this essential part of our network as we ramp up to launch the first of our fleet early next year and provide service to every rural home in Alaska starting in 2019.”
The two companies began developing the ground network system two years ago and the deal cals for equipment to support satellite access points in gateway locations around the world — including purpose-built switching systems, outdoor modems and power amplifiers.
With the contract in place, shipments will begin in the middle of 2018.
For folks who don’t know (which was me, until today), Hughes Network supplies roughly half of the market for satellite-based connectivity services and is the company behind your spotty internet connectivity on airplanes around the world.
Source: Tech Crunch