Can New Broadband Satellites Compete?

The California Public Utility Commission did not consider satellites as a viable broadband provider, as they often failed to provide the minimum download (6 Mbps) and upload speeds (1Mbps) and had untenable latency due to the distance signals have to travel from earth to geosynchronous orbit and return. This view may change with the development of flock of low altitude satellites circling the globe.

“Japan’s SoftBank Group has agreed to invest roughly $500 million more in satellite broadband provider OneWeb Ltd., according to a person familiar with the details, boosting the U.S. startup’s plan to offer significantly faster internet connections worldwide than most traditional systems, either space-based or terrestrial,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Source: Politico Morning Tech

Details on OneWeb’s plans are HERE.  According to the Wall Street Journal

Work on OneWeb’s previously announced initial fleet of more than 700 small, low-altitude satellites is “generally on schedule” for launches beginning next year, starting to market service over Alaska in 2019 and expanding virtually around the globe by the end of 2020, according to Mr. Wyler. During a weekend interview, he also said deployment of roughly 900 second-generation, higher-orbiting satellites by the mid-2020s—intended to create the first such large-scale, hybrid constellation on orbit—is projected to increase speeds roughly fivefold to 2.5 gigabits per second.

In October, Mr. Wyler told the Senate Commerce Committee that OneWeb’s network portends “a brighter future for the nearly half of Americans with substandard internet connections, primarily in rural areas.” His ultimate goal is to “fully bridge the global digital divide,” he told the panel, by bringing inexpensive internet links relying on light, versatile antennas to impoverished communities, schools and small businesses in developing countries.

The plan is to provide 50Mbps Internet access, with each satellite will providing aggregate downlink capacity of 17 to 23 gigabits per second. This ability will provide the capability to exceed the FCC standard of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up which are much higher than the CPUC standard of 6 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up. Low altitude flock of 1,000 plus satellites could be the solution to solving the rural broadband coverage gaps. Stay tuned; we will continue to cover these new satellites.

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