OneWeb Launch Strengthens Satellite Internet Service
Chuck Schumann, CEO of Pacific Dataport, OneWeb’s partner in Alaska, in a promotional video.
The latest launch of OneWeb satellites to low Earth orbit (LEO) promises to strengthen telecommunications service already active in some of Alaska’s remotest communities.
Forty satellites lifted off late Monday from Cape Canaveral in Florida on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster, which returned to the launchpad for reuse. This is the second of three SpaceX launches for OneWeb, a London-based telecom that builds satellites in Florida. OneWeb rode its first SpaceX booster last month for the fifteenth launch to assemble its constellation, while SpaceX continues to loft its fleet of Starlink satellites for a competing service.
The OneWeb system is planned for 648 satellites, and more than two-thirds have already been launched. The service is scheduled to have complete global coverage later this year.
Pacific Dataport, the Alaska partner of OneWeb, is already providing satellite connections in the state. In communities such as Akiak, a central tower relays signals from Pacific Dataport’s ground station in Talkeetna, and the tower connects to business and residential customers wirelessly.
When OneWeb reached an agreement in 2021 with Bristol Bay Telephone Cooperative to bring urban-speed internet connectivity to the region, OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson said, “We made Alaska the centerpiece of our coverage map because of the benefits our LEO constellation can provide to the economy, safety, and health of rural communities in the north. We know that if we can provide consistent, high-speed internet here, we can provide it anywhere.”