AT&T and OneWeb: Satellite Access for Business in Remote U.S. Areas

AT&T Communications has signed a strategic agreement with OneWeb, the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, to harness the capabilities of satellite technology to improve access for AT&T business customers into remote and challenging  geographic locations. The new connectivity will complement existing AT&T access technologies.

Why is this important? AT&T’s leading business fiber network enables high-speed connections to over 2.5 million U.S. business customer locations. Nationwide, more than 9 million business customer locations are within 1,000 feet of AT&T fiber.  However, there are still remote areas that existing networks can’t reach with the high-speed, low-latency broadband essential to business operations.

Who can use this: AT&T will use this technology to enhance connectivity when connecting to its enterprise, small and medium-sized business and government customers as well as hard-to-reach cell towers.

Where will it work: AT&T says that more than 9 million business customer locations are within 1,000 feet of its fiber network, but that there are remote areas that remain out of reach. By riding OneWeb’s LEO-based broadband satellite constellation, AT&T believes it will be able to deliver high-speed, low-latency services to small, medium and enterprise-sized business customers in those locations.

The AT&T service will be supported by OneWeb’s network of satellites. OneWeb has launched 288 satellites and expects to attain global coverage with a total fleet of 648 satellites by the end of 2022. AT&T business and government customers in Alaska and northern U.S. states will be covered later this year.

Image source: Roscosmos, Space-Center-Vostochny and TsENKi

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What are people saying:

“Working with OneWeb, we’ll be able to enhance high-speed connectivity in places that we don’t serve today and meet our customers wherever they are,” said Scott Mair, President, Network Engineering and Operations, AT&T. “We’re expanding our network with one more option to help ensure that our business customers have the high-speed, low-latency connectivity they need to thrive as the nation recovers from COVID-19.”

“OneWeb’s enterprise-grade network has a unique capability to serve hard-to-reach businesses and communities. Our work with AT&T will focus on how satellite technology can support improved capacity and coverage in remote, rural and challenging geographic locations,” said Neil Masterson,  OneWeb Chief Executive Officer. “Today’s agreement with AT&T demonstrates OneWeb’s execution momentum and the confidence customers such as AT&T have in its services and offering.”

About OneWeb:

OneWeb is a global communications network powered from space, headquartered in London, enabling connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities. It is implementing a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites with a network of global gateway stations and a range of user terminals to provide an affordable, fast, high-bandwidth and low-latency communications service, connected to the IoT future and a pathway to 5G for everyone, everywhere. Find out more at http://www.oneweb.world

Light Reading – Satellite Internet Competition:

OneWeb’s win with AT&T also surfaces amid growing competition in the satellite broadband sector.

Enterprise and business customers are among the targets for Viasat, which is in the process of providing global coverage with a growing fleet of high-power geosynchronous (GEO) satellites. SES also focuses on the business and government services market, and intends to hit those markets harder as it moves ahead with O3b mPower, a new global connectivity platform that will ultimately comprise a constellation of 11 medium Earth-orbit (MEO) satellites. Starlink, SpaceX’s LEO-based satellite broadband service, has largely focused on the home broadband market, but has hinted at ambitions to serve connectivity to planes, trucks and other moving vehicles.

OneWeb recently landed a $300 million investment from South Korean conglomerate Hanwha Systems, which secured an 8.8% stake in OneWeb and a board seat. Other investors include India’s Bharti Airtel (35% stake), the UK government (almost 20%), and Japan’s SoftBank Group, France’s Eutelsat and Hughes Network Systems.

Earlier this month, OneWeb inked a $1 billion-plus insurance agreement through broker/risk advisor Marsh as it prepares for its next phase of deployments.

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About AT&T Communications:

AT&T helps family, friends and neighbors connect in meaningful ways every day. From the first phone call 140+ years ago to mobile video streaming, we @ATT innovate to improve lives. AT&T Communications is part of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T). For more information, please visit us at att.com

References:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/att-and-oneweb-plan-satellite-access-for-business-in-remote-areas-across-the-us-301371306.html

https://www.lightreading.com/satellite/atandt-will-tap-into-onewebs-satellite-network-to-reach-remote-areas-/a/d-id/771944?

2 thoughts on “AT&T and OneWeb: Satellite Access for Business in Remote U.S. Areas

  1. OneWeb executive chair Sunil Bharti Mittal, who announced the agreement in his Satellite 2021 keynote Sept. 8, said the “U.S. market now has a huge distributor in the form of AT&T.”

    Asked about the services AT&T will provide through the OneWeb partnership, he first highlighted the potential to provide faster and more reliable cellular backhaul.

    Higher quality cellular backhaul “will allow [AT&T] to put up base stations where none exist today,” Mittal said.

    He also underlined the potential to improve AT&T’s enterprise services, as well as “the government delivery of various kinds of broadband services,” pointing to the billions in subsidies the Federal Communications Commission provides through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund as justifying OneWeb’s vision and business plan.

    “That means there are still very large parts of the U.S. which remain unconnected or poorly connected,” he noted.

    Looking for more partners

    Mittal said OneWeb is holding “dozens of conversations in very advanced stages” with other telecom partners.

    The company had earlier announced a distributor partnership with British telco BT June 27.

    Mittal is founder and chair of Indian conglomerate Bharti, a OneWeb investor that also owns a sizable India-based telecoms company called Airtel.

    He told the conference that Airtel will partner with OneWeb to cover India, Southeast Asia and many countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

    With nearly half of its 648-strong constellation deployed so far, he said OneWeb expects to launch partial services in the Northern Hemisphere in the next 60-90 days.

    Mittal said Alaska “will probably go first with our services,” adding that OneWeb has also partnered with local telco Alaska Communications.

    OneWeb plans to launch full commercial services in 2022, and Mittal said it expects to have signed up a telecom operator in every country as it works on gaining worldwide market access.

    He highlighted stiff regulatory conditions in 30 countries in particular, of which OneWeb has been able to penetrate 12-13 of them.

    “They are very large markets, some of them,” he continued.

    “We need the permission to put up our … ground stations, we need the permission to use the spectrum in their countries. We need the permission to go and access the market and provide the services.”

    Bharti is U.K-headquartered OneWeb’s largest investor in an international mix of shareholders that includes the British government, Japanese internet giant Softbank, French satellite operator Eutelsat, U.S.-based antenna specialist Hughes Network Systems and — more recently — South Korea’s Hanwha.

    Eutelsat said Sept. 8 that it closed a $550 million equity investment in OneWeb that it announced in April.

    If Bharti and Hanwha’s investments also close as expected following regulatory approvals, Eutelsat would own 17.6% of OneWeb.

    OneWeb also announced Sept 8 the appointment of Air Vice-Marshal Chris Moore as vice president of international government and trade engagement to its government and regulatory affairs team.

    Moore spent three decades at the U.K.’s Royal Air Force, and was the MOD’s director of operations for defence’s core IT services between 2017 and 2021.

    “His sectoral knowledge, spectrum engineering, and real-time application of satellite connectivity, alongside a deep cyber-security background, are of great benefit as we roll-out our global services,” stated OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson.

    https://spacenews.com/oneweb-and-att-partner-to-extend-fiberlike-coverage-across-united-states/

  2. SpaceX to focus on 10 rural Lok Sabha constituencies for 80% of Starlink terminals shipped to India

    SpaceX will shortly apply to the Indian government for a licence to launch its Starlink satellite broadband services in the country and is aiming to touch 200,000 active terminals by December 2022.

    https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/spacex-to-focus-on-10-rural-lok-sabha-constituencies-for-80-of-starlink-terminals-shipped-to-india-india-head/86724937

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