Bharti Joins OneWeb Consortium, to Provide Affordable Internet

Bharti-Joins-OneWeb-Consortium-for-Providing-Affordable-InternetBharti Enterprises today said that it has acquired a minority stake in OneWeb consortium to provide affordable Internet for rural markets.

Bharti Airtel will be a preferred distributor of OneWeb service in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Africa. As one of the founding members of OneWeb, Bharti will have representation on the board of the company.

OneWeb mission is to enable affordable Internet access for everyone with an initial constellation of 648 Low Earth Orbit satellites that will provide connectivity to billions of people around the world. OneWeb’s system will enable delivery of high quality, low-latency broadband services, both fixed and mobile, as a combined offering with cellular networks.

OneWeb has raised investment from Airbus Group, Bharti Enterprises, The Coca-Cola Company, Grupo Salinas, Hughes Network Systems, Intelsat, Qualcomm and Virgin Group.

The OneWeb User Terminals contain embedded LTE, 3G, 2G and WiFi access capabilities that extend the reach of mobile operators. With more than 10 terabits per second of new capacity, the system will transparently extend the networks of mobile operators and ISPs to serve new coverage areas, bringing voice and data access to consumers, businesses, schools, healthcare institutions and other end users.

Announcing the investment, Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman, Bharti Enterprises said, “Access to affordable high speed Internet is a powerful tool for economic development and empowerment of populations, particularly in emerging economies.”

OneWeb today also announced the largest commercial rocket acquisition ever of more than 65 rockets from Arianespace and Virgin Galactic. Arianespace will be providing 21 Soyuz rockets from 3 separate launch pads on a firm schedule, 5 Soyuz options and 3 Ariane 6 options. Virgin Galactic will be providing 39 separate launches.

“The dream of fully bridging the digital divide is on track to be a reality in 2019,” said Greg Wyler, founder, OneWeb.

“We are committed to giving our full industrial and space expertise to this mission,” said Tom, chief executive officer, Airbus Group.

“This project is exciting because it combines commerce with purpose,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company.

“We are backing OneWeb, as we believe it has all the pieces in place to create that service in the future,” said Ricardo Salinas, chairman, Grupo Salinas.

Pradman Kaul, president, Hughes said, “We have been looking at every detail and are excited to participate both in the design, development and production of the ground system. In addition, we will employ the OneWeb network to deliver services to our global base of customers and distribution partners.”

Stephen Spengler, CEO, Intelsat said, “Our role in the commercial space sector is to push for innovations that can drive increased performance, economics and simple access for our users.”

“Qualcomm is committed to working with the ecosystem to extend connectivity to everyone, everywhere and everything around the world through our innovative technologies,” said Dr Paul E Jacobs, executive chairman, Qualcomm.

“Our vision is to make the Internet affordable for everyone, connecting remote areas to rest of the world and helping to raise living standards and prosperity in some of the poorest regions today,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder, Virgin Group.

Hughes Network Systems (Hughes) will design/develop/manufacture the ground system and employ OneWeb’s network to deliver services across its worldwide base of customers and distribution partners.

OneWeb will help in closing the digital divide by bringing affordable broadband service to millions of households, schools and organizations worldwide.


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