SpaceX, OneWeb to launch internet satellites

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OneWeb plans to create the world’s biggest satellite constellation in a bid to deliver fast internet access with low latency across the globe, according to media reports.

Funded by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and chipmaker Qualcomm, the company intends to launch a network of 648 micro-satellites into the atmosphere.

“OneWeb is designing a global communications infrastructure that will enable affordable Internet access to the world’s underserved populations,” said its CEO and founder, Greg Wyler.

The satellites will be linked to terminals on the ground, which in turn will deliver online access to surrounding areas via 2G, 3G, Wi-Fi and LTE licensed to a local carrier. In places where this cannot be done, Wi-Fi or LTE on an unlicensed spectrum will be used.

Wyler added that the project is estimated to cost between US$1.5 billion and US$2 billion.

http://www.rev2.org/wp-admin/post-new.phpMeanwhile, SpaceX also plans to establish a similar satellite network, according to Elon Musk, the rocket maker’s CEO.

“The speed of light is 40 per cent faster in the vacuum of space than it is for fibre,” he said after opening a new SpaceX office in Seattle. “The long-term potential is to be the primary means of long-distance Internet traffic and to serve people in sparsely populated areas.”

To support this endeavour, the company is close to clinching an investment from Google as well as other investors, according to a report from The Information.

Although details about the deal were not available, a source revealed that the search giant and other investors have agreed to value SpaceX at more than US$10 billion, and the size of their total investment is very substantial.


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