OneWeb Gets U.S. Market Access

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Wednesday, the FCC granted OneWeb U.S. market access. The company, recently bought by the British government (and Bharti Global), says it’s committed to connecting Arctic populations to high speed internet via a satellite “constellation.” Read the white paper on the plan here.

OneWeb proposes to use a 2,000-satellite non-geostationary-satellite orbit broadband constellation. The Commission granted market access in the 37.5-42 GHz (space-to-Earth), 47.2-50.2 GHz (Earth-to-space), and 50.4-51.4 GHz (Earth-to-space) frequency bands, subject to sharing conditions and other requirements.

In 2017, OneWeb sought to add a V-band payload to the 720 satellite Ku/Ka-band constellation previously approved by the Commission and proposed 1,280 additional V-band satellites operating at a nominal altitude of 8,500 km. The additional capacity would enhance OneWeb’s ability to offer its proposed broadband services in the United States.

In its approval, the Commission said granting the company access to the U.S. market will increase competition for broadband, especially in underserved areas.

SpaceX argued OneWeb should explain its plans in more detail, such as whether it will have to replace an initial wave of Ku/Ka-band satellites with a new generation of V-band equipped satellites, “and if so, how it intends to manage the significant coordination, collision avoidance, and disposal management challenges that such a rapid turn-over would require.” The agency declined to require more information, saying what One Web has provided is sufficient and consistent with information provided by other applicants. 

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