The Covid-19 epidemic slammed OneWeb, and its future looked uncertain. It was in the midst of chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US. Yet now, the company has returned to grace like a phoenix from the ashes.
In late 2020, none other than the UK government alongside Bharti Global injected $1 billion of funds into the company. This made it once again a viable business. Furthermore, Neil Matterson was appointed as CEO of this broadband satellite communications company.
So now let’s delve a little deeper into OneWeb’s story, learn more about its CEO, and learn about its current projects.
OneWeb began in 2012 as a partnership with Airbus to launch satellites into the earth’s orbit. Due to the recent acquisition, we mentioned in 2020 by the UK government and Bharti Global; it now has its headquarters in London. Furthermore, Eutelsat, a communications operator, jumped on board not long after the takeover.
It states on the company website that it has 648 satellites in low earth orbit (LEO). They provide high-speed connections for communities, businesses, and governments around the world. They say they are paving a way into IoT and 5G technologies by using gateway stations, satellites, and user terminals.
OneWeb has ground stations worldwide. Plus, they mention that they will provide commercial services above the 50th parallel north by the end of this year. Global services should be available in 2022.
OneWeb seeks to break down the barriers to global connectivity that stifle economies and societies. The 3.2 billion individuals in the globe who do not have access to connectivity infrastructure are no longer the only ones who are affected by the digital divide.
OneWeb says that new splits are forming all over the place as a result of cost, speed, and usage limits. Nearly half of the world’s population cannot use the high-speed internet (30Mbps minimum) that others use for simultaneous virtual conversations at work or school.
OneWeb also mentions that it isn’t the only company spearheading this massive connectivity push. They collaborate with distributors and governments to provide new access to enterprise-grade broadband connectivity. They aim to do this worldwide as a wholesale business.
Their focus is on SMEs, which employ half of the world’s workforce and communities. They aim to digitize for these groups so that the next generation is better connected and has more chances than the previous one.
Who Is Neil Matterson?
He spent twenty years with Thomson Reuters, where he held a range of senior positions across the company’s multi-platform operations. He headed the Thomson Reuters Operating Committee, responsible for the company’s revenue of $6 billion and 20,000 employees in his most recent post as co-COO.
He was also in charge of Thomson Reuters’ overall strategic direction and business performance. This included digital, marketing, commercial operations, technology, content, and cyber.
He now succeeds Adrian Steckel, who remains on the board as an adviser. Adrian became CEO of OneWeb in September 2018, and since then, he led the company through three successful launches, bringing 74 satellites into orbit and secured priority spectrum usage rights.
It was only when the Covid-19 pandemic hit that the company ran into trouble. Thus, new ownership and new management became implemented.
According to a press release, some of Neil Matterson’s initial comments were:
“I am looking forward to helping the OneWeb team deliver and commercialise their vision to provide internet access across the globe. OneWeb has a strong social purpose to improve the world’s access to information, which I share. It has great talent, a compelling commercial opportunity, and is supported by committed and knowledgeable owners and investors.”
The OneWeb new CEO also mentioned:
“Our December launch puts the UK firmly in the global space business, alongside acknowledged Indian telecoms experts, Bharti Global. OneWeb will be a model for responsible co-operation in space.”
So now you know a little more about what the company is about and its new CEO, let’s check out some recent OneWeb news.
Launch of OneWeb Satellites
Arianespace’s next launch of 34 OneWeb satellites from the Baikonur Cosmodrome was a success on 22 August 2021.
The launch comes after OneWeb completed its ‘Five to 50’ mission successfully. It demonstrates the company’s momentum as it prepares to both deliver commercial services and focus on growing to global service.
With this last successful launch, OneWeb now has a total of 288 satellites in space. These will be part of OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet, which will provide global connectivity at fast speeds and with low latency.
The rocket released OneWeb’s satellites in nine phases in just under four hours. They also confirmed signal acquisition on all 34 satellites.
So, it looks as though OneWeb is on target to deliver global service in 2022. And there’s no doubt that companies and governments worldwide are clamoring for its low-latency, high-speed connectivity services in the most difficult-to-reach locations.
New Distribution Partners and Growth
OneWeb has established distribution relationships across a variety of industries and enterprises since the start of 2021. Most recently, it connected with BT in the United Kingdom and Northwestel in Canada. It also received $300 million in further capital from Hanwha.
OneWeb is expanding from a strong position, establishing itself as a pioneer in LEO broadband access. The company has received all of the funding it needs to complete its constellation and put its satellites into commercial service.
CEO Neil Patterson commented not too long ago:
“Following the successful completion of our ‘Five to 50’ mission, we are building on our success and embarking on an ambitious back-to-back launch programme until the end of 2021. We are seeing huge demand for our services from global customers, and we are incredibly excited about scaling our network ahead of its commercial launch. This success is down to our talented team and partners around the world, who continue to work relentlessly every day to deliver OneWeb’s constellation and bring connectivity to those in the hardest to reach places.”
So all-in-all, things seem to be looking up for the company after suffering significant hardships back in 2020.
What Solutions Does OneWeb Offer?
You can break down OneWeb’s solutions into four categories: enterprise, government, maritime, and aviation. As you can see, they deal with many global players, which probably explains why the UK government, among others, went for the acquisition.
Now let’s check what OneWeb offers for each category. And then, we’ll take a look at their Distribution Partner Program.
The world is becoming more reliant on technology as a digital divide continues. OneWeb Enterprise solutions scale the availability and performance of existing network solutions.
OneWeb’s network provides space, air, land, and sea communications for government networks and missions.
The OneWeb consortium leaders are the UK government and Indian mobile network operator Bharti Global. It provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity for the government sector to bring digital inclusion to millions of people for the first time with fiber-like access.
OneWeb thinks that fiber-like connectivity should be available at sea in the same way it is at home. The idea is to allow shipping fleets, floating communities, and offshore operations to become more sustainable, efficient, and profitable.
They have low latency, high throughput systems. These allow for a digital transformation of maritime operations. They can enable users to access flexible, fast, and secure connectivity as a standardized service at sea.
In-flight connectivity service providers have been promising that they will provide a full broadband-in-the-sky experience for more than a decade. Service choices have improved. Yet, few operators or passengers can claim that their in-flight connectivity experience is anywhere close to that of an office.
OneWeb is constructing a satellite communications network that will provide aviation with high-speed, low-latency, and globally accessible connectivity. They’ve already started launching their first operational fleet of 648 high-tech, high-performance Ku-band satellites into low-earth orbit. And they are still on track to provide aviation services by 2023.
Distribution Partner Programme
OneWeb’s distribution partner program invites individuals and companies with ideas that align with their goals to join them. You could be working in any industry or government department where you want better connectivity.
When you partner with OneWeb, they supply you with better access to enterprise-level broadband connections. And OnWeb can tailor the way you access these connections for your specific needs.
OneWeb Is Soaring High
It’s impressive how OneWeb has managed to ride out one of the most vicious storms we’ve seen in economic times. Covid-19 may have hit the company hard, but it looks like it may have been for the better.
Now OneWeb is established under new ownership and moving towards supplying the globe with world-class connectivity.
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