OneWeb to use LEO satellites to offer global connectivity

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OneWeb plans to use Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites to offer global high-speed, low-latency, reliable inflight connectivity with data packages up to 100Mbps in the business aviation market. It says it will provide coverage for previously unconnected routes.

Working with key industry partners, OneWeb pledges to deliver an affordable line-fit solution for aircraft ranging from the lightest of business jets through to large-cabin VVIP airliners and even new supersonic offerings.

“Our vision for business aviation is fully customised, truly global, uninterrupted passenger high-speed connectivity and we are building an eco-system for this sector,” said Dylan Browne, head of OneWeb’s business aviation, government and maritime sectors. “Business jet users want to make their time on board count and need to be able to access the same tools in the sky as on the ground. OneWeb will make it possible for all the software applications used in an office to be available in the sky.”

OneWeb says its service will enable passengers to conduct multiple simultaneous uninterrupted live video conferences, access cloud solutions such as Office365, connect with Live TV as well as use content streaming apps such as Netflix and Amazon Video, but also keep up to date with the family on FaceTime and WhatsApp.

LEO satellites are situated much closer to Earth than other satellites – approximately 750 miles. This means the service will not have to compete for coverage in the larger 35,000ft geostationary (GEO) system. OneWeb says a typical GEO satellite round-trip of nearly 45,000 miles typically means a network time delay of two seconds. GEOs also cannot serve the polar regions. OneWeb plans to offer polar track coverage from day one.

OneWeb has been focussed in the past months on growing its business aviation team and recently welcomed satellite mobility expert Carole Plessy, who brings 20 years of experience and previously headed product development at Inmarsat. Ed Slater, formerly from Satcom Direct Communications (SD) and who led airborne communication systems and planning for Air Force One during President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama’s terms, has also joined the business aviation team.

OneWeb’s satellites are built in Florida by Airbus OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture between Oneweb and Airbus. OneWeb will deploy more than 30 satellites on a monthly basis starting in December 2019 as it grows its constellation for full global coverage in 2021.

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Izzy has been part of the Business Jet Interiors International team since its second issue, and the editor since 2011. She also edits Auditoria and Railway Interiors International. Outside of work, Izzy is rediscovering her love of art by learning how to paint with watercolors.

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