NEW DELHI: OneWeb, owned by the Bharti Group and the UK government, announced on Friday that it has launched 36 communications satellites and will offer high-speed internet in India through this network by mid-2022. The launch comes just weeks after OneWeb was taken over by the Sunil Bharti Mittal-run Bharti Group and the British government after facing bankruptcy.
The 36 satellites were launched through a Soyuz launch vehicle from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia. This takes the total in-orbit constellation of satellites to 110, out of OneWeb’s planned 648 Low Earth Orbit satellite fleet. The launch puts OneWeb on track to offer global services to customers from late 2021, starting with the United Kingdom, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic Seas, and Canada, with global services launched in 2022.
“Today’s launch is one of many steps we have taken to operationalise one of the world’s first LEO constellations which clearly demonstrates we are on our way to achieving our mission”, said Mittal, chairman of Bharti Enterprises. Noting that there is an overwhelming demand for broadband, Mittal also said that the pandemic has taxed infrastructure everywhere, and many have been left with no internet access. “OneWeb’s system will help meet existing and future demand,” he said.