OneWeb to offer Arctic satellite broadband in 2020

OneWeb has announced plans to deliver broadband internet services in the Arctic, using polar-orbiting satellites to connect users above the 60th parallel starting from late 2020.

The satellite operator completed its first launch of six satellites in February this year, part of a programme which aims to have 650 satellites in orbit to deliver full global commercial coverage by 2021. HD video streaming tests were conducted on those initial satellites in August, the company said, demonstrating latencies of under 40 milliseconds on the connection.

OneWeb says that its Arctic service will be ready for deployment significantly earlier than the full global network, starting towards the end of 2020, with full 24-hour coverage being provided by early 2021.

“Connectivity is now an essential utility and a basic human right. Our constellation will offer universal high-speed Arctic coverage sooner than any other proposed system meeting the need for widespread connectivity across the Arctic,” said Adrian Steckel, OneWeb Chief Executive Officer.

OneWeb is currently working in Norway and Alaska to get its ground antennas fully operational by January 2020 to be ready to serve the Arctic region.