Space

World's largest satellite constellation to provide global internet access

World's largest satellite cons...
OneWeb is planning to launch a network of satellites that will provide affordable internet access across the world
OneWeb is planning to launch a network of satellites that will provide affordable internet access across the world
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OneWeb is planning to launch a network of satellites that will provide affordable internet access across the world
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OneWeb is planning to launch a network of satellites that will provide affordable internet access across the world

According to the International Telecommunications Union, over half of the world's population has no access to the internet. A new plan, however, could provide access to billions of those people. OneWeb says it will launch a network of satellites that will provide global high-speed internet access.

A number of other projects that are aiming to help deliver global internet access have previously been announced. Google's Project Loon aims to float internet-connected balloons over remote areas, whilst a Facebook and internet.org collaboration and Quarkson plan to do so using drones.

OneWeb's approach differs to all of these ideas. The firm has received investment from Virgin and Qualcomm to launch 648 micro-satellites into orbit. The satellites will provide low-latency, high-speed internet access and, according to Virgin, will comprise the world’s largest-ever satellite network.

In order to deliver internet access, the satellites will connect to terminals that will be deployed on the ground where required. OneWeb says the terminals will be self-installable and will provide connectivity to their surrounding areas via Wi-Fi, LTE, 3G or 2G licensed to a mobile operator, or just Wi-Fi or LTE on the unlicensed spectrum. The network will also apparently be able to provide emergency and first responder access in disaster situations, refugee camps and other areas of need.

In addition to having invested in OneWeb, Virgin will also be the satellite launch provider for the project via its Virgin Galactic arm. The firm's LauncherOne program will be used to provide frequent satellite launches.

Sources: OneWeb, Virgin

9 comments
b@man
It'll never replace a hard line.
Skyler Thomas
Connecting certain areas of the globe via hard line isn't always a viable option. Many populated locales are too far away from major hubs, or have poor infrastructure for their population size. This satellite network is meant to be a remedy for such problems. It would allow for much more flexibility in network connectivity. Instead of stating only your opinion why don't you back it up? Your statement is moot if you support it.
Mark Keller
Maybe not replace (tho I have my doubts on that assumption, technology will provide a way) but if it BETTER supplements the land line system and IMPROVES the wireless system we should be all for it and encouraging it.
xdigitor
China will shoot them down.
Chris Maresca
Saying that it will never replace a hard line is simply false. Satellite is already replacing hard lines in places where there is no high-speed internet... My mom currently has satellite internet as it's impossible to get a hardline where she lives in rural France. It's 10Mbps with 170msec latency. The speed is roughly what I get with a DSL line in the middle of city, although the latency is significantly higher. The cost is similar to a normal wired connection.
Brendan Dunphy
Any real substance to this? Only evidence is a press release from a non-existent company.
Shafkat
This is excellent news .. especially for us here in Africa ....Can't wait for it to happen...
ezeflyer
More microwave pollution.
jingleburp
This is fantastic news!!! - Too bad it will be 10 years before we see it happen.....:-(.