In an increasingly connected world, imaging life without Internet connectivity is impossible. However, just over 40% of the global population does not have access to the Internet. In 2016, the UN declared that the Internet should be “open, accessible and nurtured”. There is a high demand for Internet connection globally. As a result, companies are racing to lead the developing market and provide Internet connectivity to those who are underserved.
London-based OneWeb and its competitors, SpaceX and Amazon’s Project Kuiper are leading the race to become the biggest global providers of satellite Internet. Their aim is to offer high-speed internet access from low-Earth orbit. Combined, the three companies will launch tens of thousands of internet-providing satellites into low-Earth orbit over the next decade.
“In this new era of large constellations and low-cost access to space, it is urgent that we adopt common-sense practices that are critical to the long-term environmental sustainability of LEO.”Gegory Thane Wyler, OneWeb, Founder and CEO
OneWeb was the first to deploy satellites in February 2019 in a test run. Gregory Thane Wyler founded the startup in 2012. His aim is to build a mega-constellation in the sky to deliver Internet to all corners of the globe. Overall, OneWeb was satisfied with the test run performance of its six satellites, each of which weighs about 150kg. In 2020, the startup plans to launch 10 rockets which will carry at around 34 satellites, the first of which was rocketed in February of this year.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is OneWeb’s biggest competitor. In addition to the 60 satellites launched in 2019, it plans to launch over ten “Starlink” missions this year.
On the other hand, Amazon has not been given permission to make its Project Kuiper broadband satellite program happen.
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