Starlink to explore collaboration with Indian telcos for broadband internet services

SpaceX subsidiary Starlink is planning to explore collaboration with telecom companies in India to expand broadband internet services in the country with a focus on rural areas, a top company official said on Friday.  Starlink Country Director India Sanjay Bhargava told that discussions with broadband service providers will start once the 12 Phase-1 aspirational districts are identified by the Niti Aayog and the company will see the interest levels of the various players and the USOF (universal service obligation fund).

“I am hoping that we will get a time-bound 100 per cent broadband plan that can serve as a model for other districts but the devil is in the details and there may be many good reasons why one or more broadband providers do not want to collaborate, though to me that seems unlikely,” Bhargava said.

Starlink claims to have received over 5,000 pre-orders from India. The company is charging a deposit of $99 or Rs 7,350 per customer and claims to deliver data speeds in the range of 50-150 megabits per second in the beta stage.

Bhargava had earlier announced that the company will focus on 10 rural Lok Sabha constituencies to provide internet services for 80 per cent of the Starlink terminals shipped to India. “At Starlink, we can roll out fast if we have licensing approval and…the Starlink’s could move to other remote areas,” Bhargava said.  In a social media post, Bhargava said the company wants to collaborate with all. “We want to collaborate with all and have others besides us licensed to provide satellite broadband so that satellite plus terrestrial together can provide 100 per cent broadband, especially in rural districts,” he said.  There have been some reports of Starlink considering manufacturing of terminals to provide satellite broadband services in India, but Bhargava said the company is not actively thinking about making terminals for broadband locally.

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Tech billionaire Elon Musk has said on Twitter that his aerospace company SpaceX may soon launch satellite-based internet service Starlink in India. Musk responded to a Twitter post that the company is exploring how the regulatory approval process in the country will work for Starlink.  Musk said, “The regulatory approval process is being explored.”

Starlink recently shipped 100,000 terminals to customers. The objective of this project is to provide global broadband connectivity through a cluster of satellites. SpaceX began satellite launches in November 2019 and opened its $99 (Rs 7,223) per month beta program to select customers about a year later.

References:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/elon-musks-starlink-to-explore-collaboration-with-indian-telcos-for-broadband/articleshow/87541476.cms

starlink plans: Jio-Airtel Vacation! Musk’s internet service is about to be launched, beta users are paying this much for the month – Elon musk has stated on twitter that his satellite based internet service starlink soon in india soon

 

BT in new distribution partner agreement with OneWeb for LEO satellite connectivity

BT has announced a new distribution partner agreement with OneWeb for LEO satellite network and connectivity services. The agreement covers BT’s global footprint and supports the UK government’s National Space Strategy.

OneWeb will provide LEO satellite communication services across BT Group’s Global, Enterprise and Consumer divisions. The new agreement expands a MoU signed between the companies in July 2021. BT will test how LEO satellite technology can be integrated with its existing terrestrial capabilities to meet the communications needs of consumer and business customers. Once the network integration tests are completed successfully, BT expects to start live trials with customers in early-2022.

BT will test capabilities at its Bristol lab to show how LEO solutions can integrate with existing services. Due to the current capacity levels of OneWeb satellites, this will focus on the role of LEO as a supplementary, low latency backhaul solution to sites needing extra capacity or a back-up solution, as well as to provide business customers with improved resilience. Once the tests are complete, BT will start early adopter trials with UK and international customers. As the capacity of the OneWeb system expands, the future use cases could extend to include the use of satellite for IoT backhaul and fixed wireless access (FWA) in rural areas.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “I am thrilled to see the UK at the forefront of this emerging technology thanks to the Government’s investment in OneWeb – a crucial part of our plans to cement our status as a global science and technology superpower.”

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “The agreement between OneWeb and BT will help bring fast and reliable global connectivity, from the Highlands to the Himalayas. I’m delighted these two British companies have joined forces to research the technological benefits of working together, and I look forward to exploring how this could play a role in our mission to put hard-to-reach areas in the digital fast lane.”

Philip Jansen, Chief Executive of BT Group, said: “Space is an emerging and enormous digital opportunity, and this is an important step towards harnessing its potential for BT’s customers across the globe. We will put OneWeb’s technology through its paces in our UK labs with the goal of delivering live trials in early 2022. Delivered securely and at scale, satellite solutions will be an important part of our plans to expand connectivity throughout the UK and globally, and to further diversify the range of services we can offer our customers.”

OneWeb’s Chief Executive Officer Neil Masterson said: “BT has taken the lead in the recognition of LEO satellite’s advantage.  We are delighted as this agreement with BT Group represents an important strategic partnership for OneWeb as we continue to make progress towards our operational launch. We are excited to be playing such a key role in improving the resilience of the overall telecom infrastructure in the UK. OneWeb’s connectivity platform will help bridge the last digital divides across the country and enhance the nation’s digital infrastructure.”

OneWeb is expected to deliver global coverage by June 2022 through a constellation of 648 LEO satellites and is poised to deliver services from the North Pole to the 50th parallel, covering the entire United Kingdom, later this year. The new partnership supports BT’s wider network ambition, set out in July this year, to deliver digital solutions across the entire UK by 2028, through a combination of an expanded network and ‘on demand,’ requestable solutions anywhere beyond. In building a converged, software-defined network, BT will leverage and integrate both terrestrial and non-terrestrial technologies to deliver on the goal of seamless, ubiquitous connectivity.

This agreement marks a clear path towards the first LEO solutions being available for customers within a year. As the next step, BT will test capabilities in its Bristol lab to demonstrate how they integrate with existing services. Current capacity levels within OneWeb satellites mean initial trials will focus on its role as a supplementary, low latency backhaul solution to sites where additional capacity or a back-up solution is required, and to deliver improved resilience for business customers. On successful completion, BT will begin early adopter trials for UK and international customers, expected early next year. As OneWeb grows their capacity, the list of future use cases could also widen, opening up the opportunity to explore the use of satellite for IoT backhaul and Fixed Wireless Access in rural areas.

The work with OneWeb shows the capabilities being developed by UK businesses in the pioneering area of space technology and follows the UK Government’s recently published National Space Strategy, which recognizes the enormous strategic opportunities on offer. BT, which boasts a heritage of nearly 60 years in space and satellite communication innovation, continues to explore a diverse range of partners across all its services, including space, to ensure the latest and best connectivity solutions are available for customers.

*The deal encompasses BT’s Enterprise, Consumer and Global units, serving UK and multinational organizations.

References:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bt-secures-industry-first-global-partnership-with-oneweb-301413630.html

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2021/09/08/att-and-oneweb-satellite-access-for-business-in-remote-u-s-areas/

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2021/07/02/oneweb-launches-36-leo-satellites-254-in-orbit-funding-deals-uk-coverage-too/

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2021/04/27/oneweb-receives-investment-from-eutelsat-communications-leo-satellite-constellation-for-global-internet-service/

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2021/01/16/oneweb-secures-additional-funding-for-648-total-satellites-for-broadband-connectivity/

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2020/12/10/revitalized-oneweb-challenges-spacex-starlink-amazon-kuiper-for-broadband-satellite-service/

Video clip about OneWeb satellites

Verizon partners with Amazon Project Kuiper to offer FWA in unconnected and underserved areas

Today at the 2021 Mobile World Congress (MWC) Los Angeles CA, Verizon and Amazon announced a strategic collaboration that will combine Verizon’s 5G wireless network with Amazon’s Project Kuiper constellation of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. The first offering from the new partnership will backhaul Verizon’s cell sites through Amazon’s LEO satellites, enabling Verizon to offer fixed wireless access (FWA) in unconnected rural or underserved areas.

As part of the collaboration, Project Kuiper and Verizon have begun to develop technical specifications [1.] and define preliminary commercial models for a range of connectivity services for U.S. consumers and global enterprise customers operating in rural and remote locations around the world.

Note 1.  There are no 3GPP specifications or ITU recommendations for the use of LEO satellites for 5G (IMT 2020/ITU-R M.2150) backhaul.  Therefore, new carrier specifications are needed for 5G RANs to use LEO satellite networks for backhaul.

However, 3GPP is planning to include non-terrestrial networks (NTN) and to address satellite’s role in the 5G vision in their Release 17 package of specifications, to be released next year.  You can read an overview of 3GPP NTN’s here.

ITU-R SG 4 is responsible for Satellite services.  That includes Systems and networks for the fixed-satellite service, mobile-satellite service, broadcasting-satellite service and radiodetermination-satellite service.  In particular,

Working Party 4B (WP 4B) – Systems, air interfaces, performance and availability objectives for FSS, BSS and MSS, including IP-based applications and satellite news gathering

ITU-R WP4B carries out studies on performance, availability, air interfaces and earth-station equipment of satellite systems in the FSS, BSS and MSS. This group has paid particular attention to the studies of Internet Protocol (IP)-related system aspects and performance and has developed new and revised Recommendations and Reports on IP over satellite to meet the growing need for satellite links to carry IP traffic. This group has close cooperation with the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector. Of particular interest are:

  • Terms of Reference for Working Party 4B Correspondence Group on satellite radio interface technologies for the satellite component of IMT-2020.
  • Working document towards a preliminary draft new Report ITU-R M.[XYZ.ABC] on Vision and requirements for satellite radio interface(s) of IMT-2020

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Amazon’s Project Kuiper is an initiative to increase global broadband access through a constellation of 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) around the planet. The system will serve individual households, as well as schools, hospitals, businesses and other organizations operating in places where internet access is limited or unavailable. Amazon has committed an initial $10 billion to the program, which will deliver fast, affordable broadband to customers and communities around the world.

The Verizon-Amazon partnership seeks to expand coverage and deliver new customer-focused connectivity solutions that combine Amazon’s advanced LEO satellite system and Verizon’s world-class wireless technology and infrastructure. To begin, Amazon and Verizon will focus on expanding Verizon data networks using cellular backhaul solutions from Project Kuiper. The integration will leverage antenna development already in progress from the Project Kuiper team, and both engineering teams are now working together to define technical requirements to help extend fixed wireless coverage to rural and remote communities across the United States.

Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg said, “Project Kuiper offers flexibility and unique capabilities for a LEO satellite system, and we’re excited about the prospect of adding a complementary connectivity layer to our existing partnership with Amazon. We know the future will be built on our leading 5G network, designed for mobility, fixed wireless access and real-time cloud compute. More importantly, we believe that the power of this technology must be accessible for all. Today’s announcement will help us explore ways to bridge that divide and accelerate the benefits and innovation of wireless connectivity, helping benefit our customers on both a global and local scale.”

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said, “There are billions of people without reliable broadband access, and no single company will close the digital divide on its own. Verizon is a leader in wireless technology and infrastructure, and we’re proud to be working together to explore bringing fast, reliable broadband to the customers and communities who need it most. We look forward to partnering with companies and organizations around the world who share this commitment.”

This partnership will also pave the way for Project Kuiper and Verizon to design and deploy new connectivity solutions across a range of domestic and global industries, from agriculture and energy to manufacturing and transportation. The Kuiper System is designed with the flexibility and capacity to support enterprises of all sizes. By pairing those capabilities with Verizon’s wireless, private networking and edge compute solutions, the two will be able to extend connectivity to businesses operating and deploying assets on a global scale.

Betsy Huber, President, The National Grange said: “The agriculture industry is going to see dramatic changes in how it operates and succeeds in the next several years. Smart farms, bringing technology to agriculture, and connecting the last mile of rural America will be at the forefront of helping our industry to provide food for billions around the globe. Ensuring connectivity in rural areas will be key to making these endeavors a success. We’re excited to see the leadership from both companies working together to help take our industry to the next level.”

Financial analysts at New Street Research said the opportunity could be worth billions of dollars to the two companies. Specifically, they argued that Verizon’s wireless network currently does not cover around 7 million Americans. “If 50% of these people become Kuiper/Verizon customers and assuming Verizon’s phone ARPU [average revenue per user] of ~$60, there could be $2.4 billion in annual revenue,” they wrote.

Amazon and Verizon have previously teamed up to serve customers across many industries, including integrating Verizon’s 5G Edge MEC platform with AWS Wavelength and forming the Voice Interoperability Initiative. This collaboration builds on the relationship between the two companies, and lays the groundwork for Amazon and Verizon to serve additional consumer and global enterprise customers around the world.

Executives from Verizon and Amazon hinted that backhaul is only the start of the companies’ new partnership. They noted that Verizon’s plan to use Amazon’s LEO satellites is just the latest in a long line of pairings between the companies stretching from edge computing to private wireless networks.

“We’ve worked with Verizon on many complex projects over the years,” Amazon SVP David Limp said during a keynote presentation at MWC LA. Limp said Amazon continues to design and build its LEO satellites at the company’s Redmond, Washington, offices.

Verizon’s Chief Strategy Officer Rima Qureshi suggested Amazon and Verizon would explore other offerings beyond cell-site backhaul in the future. She said the companies would pursue “joint solutions” for large enterprise customers in industries stretching from agriculture to energy to education. She also said Verizon and Amazon would look for opportunities both domestically and internationally.

Qureshi noted Verizon’s deal with Nokia to deploy a private 5G network for Southampton in the UK – the largest of the 21 Associated British Ports. She suggested an Amazon-powered satellite component to that offering could extend connectivity beyond the port and into the ocean.

A spokesman for Verizon told Bloomberg it’s a global partnership with Amazon and it’s open to exploring similar deals with other companies, but declined to comment on the finances of the deal.

5G wireless telco’s deals with LEO satellite companies:

This new alliance between Verizon and Project Kuiper comes six weeks after AT&T made a similar deal with LEO satellite operator OneWeb. Just like Verizon, AT&T said it would use that agreement LEO (OneWeb) satellites to extend its connectivity reach to hard-to-serve areas that fall outside of AT&T’s fiber footprint or are beyond the reach of AT&T’s cell towers. AT&T said it would use LEO 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.

In January, KDDI in Japan said it would use Starlink – the LEO offering from Elon Musk’s SpaceX – to connect 1,200 of its remote cell towers with backhaul. KDDI said it would begin offering services under that new teaming as soon as next year.

However, Project Kuiper is way behind both Starlink and OneWeb in terms of satellite deployments. As noted by GeekWire, Starlink already counts 1,650 satellites in orbit (and around 100,000 users), while OneWeb’s constellation is now up to around 358 satellites. Amazon, meantime, has received FCC approvals for the operation of more than 3,000 LEO satellites but has yet to launch any of them. Amazon has committed $10 billion toward the construction of its Kuiper LEO satellite network.

References:

https://www.verizon.com/about/news/5g-leo-verizon-project-kuiper-team

https://www.lightreading.com/satellite/verizon-amazon-to-integrate-leo-satellites-with-5g/d/d-id/773056?

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-10-26/amazon-signs-satellite-pact-with-verizon-in-challenge-to-musk

To learn more about partnering with Amazon and the Project Kuiper team, email kuiper-partners@amazon.com

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Related Articles:

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2021/09/08/att-and-oneweb-satellite-access-for-business-in-remote-u-s-areas/

https://news.kddi.com/kddi/corporate/english/newsrelease/2021/09/13/5400.html

https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/2103/2103.09156.pdf

Telecom Italia (TIM) launches satellite Internet service; partners with Oracle for multi-cloud

Telecom Italia (TIM) is launching the new TIM SUPER SAT Internet service for new customers who live in areas of Italy not yet covered by fixed broadband and ultra-broadband networks. With this technology and the exclusive agreement signed recently with Eutelsat, customers will be able to browse at speeds up to 100M bit/s in download and 5M bit/s in upload.

The initiative confirms TIM’s commitment to overcome the digital divide, by providing Italian families with super-fast satellite Internet access in geographical areas not yet reached by TIM’s Fiber or Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) networks.

TIM Super Sat costs €49.90 (US$43) per month including a satellite kit complete with a satellite dish, a Wi-Fi modem and installation by a technician. It comes with a fair usage policy of 100GB per month at maximum speeds, after which speeds are reduced to 4Mbit/s (1Mbit/s upload).

The new TIM SUPER SAT offer also includes the sale of a satellite kit complete with a satellite dish, a Wi-Fi modem and installation by a specialized technician.

The service comes at something of a premium compared to terrestrial services: TIM currently offers 40Mbit/s 5G FWA services for €29.90 ($26) a month and FTTH with 1Gbit/s speeds also at €29.90 per month.

Although not mentioned in the October 8th press release, the new TIM Super Sat service is the result of an agreement signed by TIM and France-based satellite company Eutelsat in November 2020. TIM signed the strategic agreement with Eutelsat to provide connectivity to the most isolated and remote areas of the country.  The satellite, due to enter into service in 2022, will also be built by Thales Alenia Space and will have Ka-band capacity of 500 Gbit/s.

Under its agreement with Eutelsat, TIM is purchasing the entire transmission capacity for Italy on the two new high-performance satellites that Eutelsat has either activated or will activate in the coming months: the Konnect and Konnect VHTS (very high throughput satellite).

In service since November 2020, Eutelsat Konnect has a total capacity of 75 Gbit/s and is capable of offering speeds of up to 100 Mbit/s in 15 European countries. Konnect VHTS is expected to allow speeds of up to 200 Mbit/s once it comes into operation.

For more information and to request the offer, interested customers can consult the usual channels and the dedicated page TIM SUPER SAT.

Italy Lags in European Broadband Internet:

In 2020, Italy ranked 24 out of 27 European Union member states in its take-up of ultrafast Internet of at least 100 Mbit/s, according to the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI).

In its 2021 annual report, national statistics agency Istat noted that while Italy’s national recovery program has the “ambitious goal” of providing broadband coverage of at least 1 Gbit/s to the entire population by 2025, Italy is currently lagging far behind in the availability of ultra-broadband connections compared with other EU countries.

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TIM and Oracle team up to offer multi-cloud services in Italy:

Oracle, TIM (Telecom Italia) and Noovle (TIM Group’s cloud company) [1.], today announced that they have signed a collaboration agreement as part of a plan to offer multi-cloud services [2.] for enterprises and public sector organizations in Italy.

Note 1. Launched in January 2021, Noovle SpA is TIM Group’s dedicated center of excellence for cloud and edge computing, with a focus on supplying bespoke multi-cloud services to TIM customers.

Note 2.  Multi-cloud refers to using several instances of multiple clouds from different vendors. With multi-cloud, the use of different vendors means access to different features, underlying infrastructure, security, and other elements specific to the vendor’s offerings. Multi-cloud ties this all together, allowing enterprises and organizations to have access across vendors so data can be placed in an environment best suited to its capabilities.

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Under the agreement, TIM Group plans to utilize advanced cloud infrastructure technologies to support its goal of advancing Italy’s digital modernization and establishing its position, through Noovle, as the market reference point for enterprise multi-cloud services in the country.

The three companies plan to bring their respective assets and expertise to develop and manage multi-cloud architecture services for Italian enterprises.

  • Noovle brings an extensive data center network in Italy, which has been developed to the highest technological, security and environmental standards in line with TIM Group’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.
  • TIM provides an extensive sales network across the country, enabling the integration of cloud services with the Group’s ICT services portfolio: from IoT and 5G services to cybersecurity and advanced fixed and mobile connectivity services.
  • Oracle brings its next-generation cloud infrastructure with its built-in security, superior performance, and availability, which is ideally suited for mission-critical and cloud native workloads in large enterprise and public sector environments.

A collaborative model, which includes connecting major cloud providers’ platforms in a multi-cloud environment, will support public and private organizations in addressing the challenges of digital transformation through advanced multi-cloud services, enabling operational efficiency, lower costs, and high security standards.

Oracle’s hybrid and multi-cloud strategy also aligns closely with TIM Group’s objectives in ensuring that all customer data is hosted in-country and customers have a cloud solution that meets their data sovereignty needs. TIM selected Oracle Cloud Infrastructure as part of its multi-cloud strategy to migrate the Group’s mission-critical data management workloads to the public cloud.

 

References:

https://www.gruppotim.it/en/press-archive/market/2021/CS-TIM-SUPER-SAT-ENG.html

https://www.lightreading.com/satellite/tim-launches-satellite-service-for-underserved/d/d-id/772683?

https://www.eutelsat.com/en/satellites.html

https://www.tim.it/fisso-e-mobile/fibra-e-adsl/tim-super-sathttps://www.gruppotim.it/en/press-archive/market/2021/PR-TIM-Noovle-Oracle-ENG-08102021.html

https://www.gruppotim.it/en/press-archive/market/2021/PR-TIM-Noovle-Oracle-ENG-08102021.html

https://www.oracle.com/cloud/multicloud/what-is-multicloud/

https://blogs.oracle.com/cloud-infrastructure/post/oracles-distinct-approach-on-hybrid-and-multicloud

Phantom Space to build/launch 72 LEO satellites to deliver Ingenu’s RPMA IIoT payloads anywhere on earth

Earlier this week, IoT LP-WAN vendor Ingenu [1.] announced that it had signed an agreement with space transportation development and manufacturing company Phantom Space Corporation to build and launch 72 low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites).  This new satellite constellation, named AFNIO, will allow Ingenu to offer satellite Internet connectivity anywhere on earth, focusing primarily on low power wide area network (LP-WAN) applications using Ingenu’s random phase multiple access (RPMA) [2.] technology. This LP-WAN uses the 2.4 GHz band, universally available as a continuous frequency around the world, and is already active in 50 terrestrial networks around the world.

Ingenu explained that the constellation’s initial focus will be on delivering connectivity for various large-scale public and enterprise customers, including smart grids; factories; agriculture; oil, gas, and mining; and asset tracking and logistics.  “We’ll be able to build and operate a system of satellites that makes it possible for us to offer people full end-to-end solutions anywhere on earth and complement existing customers’ terrestrial networks. Nothing of the sort has ever been done up until now,” explained Ingenu CEO Alvaro Gazzolo.

Note 1.  Ingenu was founded in 2008 to sell its inexpensive RPMA IoT network equipment running in the unlicensed 2.4GHz band. The company has suffered several setbacks over the years. In 2020 it installed a new CEO who declared the era of “Ingenu 2.0.” At the time, he touted new business opportunities all over the world, plans to launch RPMA-capable low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, and a “pipeline of contract value” worth $2 billion.

Note 2.  RPMA has been deployed in more than 50 terrestrial networks over the past ten years, on 5 continents. Ingenu will bring its technology and expertise to develop the world’s largest space IIoT network dedicated to connectivity for machines.  However, Mike Dano of Light Reading states, ” the scale and scope of Ingenu’s operations are difficult to determine. The RPMA coverage map on the company’s website shows services in just a few dozen US cities and no international coverage locations, though Ingenu has touted operations using its technology in cities ranging from Santiago, Chile to Irene, South Africa. Further, several attempts to download white papers from the company’s website were unsuccessful.”  (This author had the same experience).

“Nonetheless, Ingenu CEO Alvaro Gazzolo said the company’s new LEO effort would allow it to provide services “anywhere on earth and complement existing customers’ terrestrial networks.” He said Ingenue counts 50 RPMA terrestrial networks across five continents.”

“Over the past couple of years we have been very busy developing our market strategy, that being a cloud-based platform which supports full end to end solutions in a wide variety of business verticals versus a connectivity model whereby the end users are required to take the responsibility of the end point devices and enabling them with our RPMA technology,” Ingenu’s William Schmidt wrote this week in response to questions from Light Reading. “Today Ingenu has a clean balance sheet and owns the most robust IoT technology currently deployed in the market, the RPMA technology. The AFNIO satellite system will dramatically add to the RPMA equation.”  Schmidt boasted that Ingenu now counts over 2.5 million RPMA-enabled devices around the world, and that the company has $5.5 billion of “pipeline revenues” over the next ten years.

Phantom will be responsible for developing the spacecraft buses, system integration and launch of all 72 spacecraft. The majority of the satellites are expected to launch on Phantom’s Daytona launch vehicle set to first launch in 2023.

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Comment and Analysis:

LEO satellite constellations are becoming an increasingly prominent part of the telecoms ecosystem. But while a large part of this is due to the high-profile nature of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation, which is by far the largest project of this type, numerous other players have also been growing.

Ingenu’s journey somewhat mirrors that of UK-based LEO player OneWeb, which is currently in the process of expanding its own constellation to provide global coverage. OneWeb filed for bankruptcy in March 2020, but since then has recovered through a slew of rapid investment, initially from the UK government and Bharti Airtel, before adding additional funds from SoftBank and Hughes Network System among others.  OneWeb’s total investment now stands at over $2.4 billion, with the company expecting to have launched 648 satellites by the end of 2022.

Ingenu, while decidedly a terrestrial IoT player, was facing similar financial troubles back in 2017 as it struggled to expand its network in the US. By the summer of 2019, however, things were looking up, with Ingenu relaunching with a ‘2.0’ message about the suitability of its LPWAN tech for the industrial sector. At the time, the company said it had a $2 billion pipeline of contract value, with Gazzolo claiming they offered “the best IoT technology in the market today for the non-licensed spectrum”.

Now, with this satellite deal, Ingenu’s scope will be larger than ever.  A recent study released by Research and Markets found that the global LP-WAN market is expected to grow by 84.3% between 2021 and 2029, owing largely to the increasing adoption of IoT and M2M applications. Smart buildings currently account for around 28% of this market, but it is actually the utility sector that is likely to see the most rapid growth, expected to account for 23.3% of all LP-WAN applications by 2029.

References:

https://www.totaltele.com/511178/IoT-player-Ingenu-launching-72-LEO-satellites-for-global-coverage

https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Phantom_Space_announces_agreement_to_build_and_launch_72_satellite_constellation_for_Ingenu_999.html

https://www.lightreading.com/iot/ingenu-kore-tout-movement-in-iot-industry/d/d-id/772497

https://www.lightreading.com/iot/iot-strategies/re-ingenu-an-iot-startup-is-born-yet-again/d/d-id/749264

RPMA

Hiber in deal with Shell for remote IoT monitoring of wells via HiberHilo

Dutch satellite asset tracking start-up Hiber has signed an agreement with Royal Dutch Shell to provide worldwide well monitoring systems. The global framework agreement will allow all Shell entities and subsidiaries to use the HiberHilo product worldwide for Industrial IoT applications.

HiberHilo, launched in October 2020, is an end-to-end IoT system that makes adds data and security to monitoring. Based on satellite technology, the system will enable oil and gas companies to measure real-time well temperature and pressure at disconnected wells in remote and offshore locations. HiberHilo is already installed in Shell operations in the North Sea. Shell is considering using HiberHilo for various operations in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

“After testing HiberHilo, the opportunity was clear,” said Ian Taylor, Global Principal Technical Expert for well integrity at Shell. Operations in South-east Asia, the Middle East, and Africa are considering HiberHilo.

“HiberHilo is a simple solution to help oil and gas companies improve safety, optimize operations, and reduce their environmental footprint,” said Coen Jansen, Hiber’s Chief Strategy Officer. “We’re thrilled to be working with Shell toward a technologically cleaner future. Hiber’s mission is connecting everything everywhere to deliver productivity and sustainability in global industrial IoT,” he added.

Shell plans to use HiberHilo to reduce travel to and from wells in remote locations. The system will also let the company to gain more data on their well performance and better monitor well integrity issues, improving the safety of remote and offshore oil and gas wells.

Image Credit:  Hiber Global

Hiber, founded in 2016 in the Netherlands, designs, builds and operates end to end solutions for the Internet of Things, focused on industrial uses such as well integrity or heavy equipment monitoring.  The company is working on a network of 50 satellites aimed at making the ‘Internet of Things’ available all over the world.  Its Hiberband network is described on their webpage as follows:

Hiberband is the world’s first LPGAN (Low Power Global Area Network) and it changes everything. It’s low cost thanks to using tiny nano satellites at a low orbit of just 600km above Earth. Unlike traditional satellite and cellular operators who launch gigantic, super expensive satellites at 60x higher with much higher costs.

Low orbit also means low power with modem batteries lasting 5-10 years. Just one of many factors that make experimenting with Hiberband-enabled devices a developer’s dream. We’ve even secured priority on our own dedicated frequency. Which is why everyone at Hiber believes Hiberband is the future of IoT connectivity.

Hiber acquired a new space permit in July 2020. On 29 February, the company launched a second-generation satellite into orbit through a SpaceX launch. A second Soyuz rocket launch followed in March. At the end of March, Hiber received an investment of  26 million EUROs to further expand its IoT satellite network.  The funding came from the European Innovation Council Fund (EIC Fund), the EU’s innovation agency, which has a €278 million Innovation Fund. The EIC co-invested with an innovation credit provided by the Dutch government and existing shareholders. Other investors include Finch Capital, Netherlands Enterprise Agency and Hartenlust Group. Hiber’s satellite constellation tracks and monitors machines and devices in harder-to-reach places.

References:

https://hiber.global/

https://hiber.global/press/hiberhilo-shell-deal/

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/hiber-signs-iiot-agreement-with-shell–1397276

Hiber signs deal with Shell for remote IoT well monitoring system

 

Shell hands major IoT contracts for oil well and refinery monitoring to Dutch startups

IoT satellite network startup Hiber secures €26M in funding round led by EU’s innovation agency

https://hiber.global/press/hiberhilo-wts-venture/

 

 

SpaceX and KDDI to test Satellite Internet in Japan

KDDI, Japan’s second-largest mobile provider, has emerged as one of SpaceX’s partners in rolling out high-speed wireless Internet coverage via satellites, according to Nikkei Asia.  It’s all part of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s goal of connecting the entire world to the internet via satellites.

SpaceX has launched hundreds of Starlink telecommunications satellites with the goal of fully starting services in Japan by the end of the year. KDDI and SpaceX will begin a network proving test in Japan this month, and coverage is expected to be commercially available next year.

The two companies will start by offering internet service to customers living in mountainous regions and islands for no additional charge. The satellite network will also serve as backup in case terrestrial telecom lines are disrupted during natural disasters or blackouts.

Once Satellite Internet service coverage increases, Starlink could field a network for smart devices, which would be used for data collection in sparsely populated places or for drone operation in otherwise hard-to-access areas.

The transmission of visuals and other large pieces of data will allow officials to remotely monitor volcanic eruptions or floods or inspect bridges and electrical towers.

For farmers, Starlink will allow them to monitor weather and crop conditions so they are better informed of when to fertilize or harvest.

Terrestrial telecom infrastructure involves a web of base stations, switching stations, fiber optic cables and backbone networks. Starlink will connect data transmissions between phones and base stations to backbone networks via satellites.

The new service is expected to provide a low-cost communications infrastructure for low-population areas because it renders fiber optic cables unnecessary. KDDI will add satellite communication antennas to base stations and install a new SpaceX transmission station at the Yamaguchi Satellite Communication Center.

Japan still has a few areas with incomplete telecom networks. At the end of March, about 9,900 people lived in locations with no mobile coverage. Even in areas with wireless coverage, it is often hard to connect with devices on islands.

KDDI covers over 90% of the population with 4G communication, but so-called platinum frequency band only extends over 60% of the land area.

A Starlink satellite can exchange signals across more than 1,000 km with low latency. The satellites orbit at lower altitudes than conventional communication satellites, which hover about 36,000 km above ground. The lower altitudes are said to enable faster communication compared to normal satellite services.

Such satellite networks services need approval from Japan’s communications ministry before operations can begin. The ministry amended rules in August that opened the doors to SpaceX launching internet services in Japan. Both SpaceX and KDDI plan to obtain licenses by the end of the year.

Back when KDDI has been strong in satellite control signals ever since the company was known as Kokusai Denshin Denwa. The carrier has collaborated with SpaceX on the technological front since last year.

This current partnership entails SpaceX providing the satellites while KDDI takes care of terrestrial telecom connections.

Musk mentioned “two quite significant partnerships with major country telcos” in June during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Although Musk did not disclose the companies’ names, it turns out that KDDI is one of them.

SpaceX will use the service rollout in Japan, where customers expect high-quality connections, as the model for a global network.

SpaceX has been launching Starlink satellites at a rapid pace. About 400 units alone were sent into space in 12-month period starting May 2019, according to NASA. More than 1,500 of the satellites are believed to be currently in orbit.

Musk’s company will continue launching satellites until it forms a constellation of over 10,000 units. There are over 3 billion people worldwide without internet access. The expansion of services would enable the global spread of digitalization.

A satellite network will be essential for making sixth generation communication a feasible reality. Driverless vehicles and similar applications will use 6G. To prevent latencies and disruptions in service, terrestrial base stations will need to work together with satellites and aerial communication drones.

Other players are jumping into the satellite telecom business. Amazon.com is spending $10 billion to create a network of over 3,000 satellites. Japanese counterpart Rakuten Group has partnered with a U.S. startup with the goal of launching satellite-powered mobile services in the next fiscal year.

NTT, Japan’s leading telecom group, has teamed with Sky Perfect JSAT Holdings on developing what are essentially data processing centers in space. Those services are expected to go live in 2026.

References:

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Telecommunication/SpaceX-and-KDDI-team-up-to-eliminate-wireless-blind-spots-in-Japan

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?

Ookla: Starlink’s Satellite Internet service vs competitors around the world

Starlink’s broadband internet speeds continue to outpace those of competitive satellite broadband internet providers Viasat and HughesNet, according to telecom speed tracker Ookla.

Given that satellite internet is often the only solution for folks in rural or underserved areas with little to no fixed broadband access, the Speedtest® results from HughesNet, Starlink and Viasat during Q2 2021 were encouraging.   HughesNet was a distant second at 19.73 Mbps (15.07 Mbps in Q1 2021) and Viasat third at 18.13 Mbps (17.67 Mbps in Q1 2021). None of these are as fast as the 115.22 Mbps median download speed for all fixed broadband providers in the U.S. during Q2 2021, but it beats digging twenty miles (or more) of trench to hook up to local infrastructure.

Moreover, Starlink was the only satellite internet provider in the United States with fixed-broadband-like latency figures, and median download speeds fast enough to handle most of the needs of modern online life at 97.23 Mbps during Q2 2021 (up from 65.72 Mbps in Q1 2021).

Starlink’s median download speeds in the U.S. are starting to rival those of fixed-line broadband networks, according to Ookla’s latest round of Speedtest data.

While Starlink’s U.S. download speeds are “fast enough to handle most of the needs of modern online life,” they do trail the 115.22 Mbit/s median download speed for all U.S. fixed broadband providers, Ookla explained in its report.

In some areas, Starlink’s U.S. download median speed has surpassed those of fixed wireline network providers.

In its analysis of the Ookla data, PCMag (Ookla and PCMag are both owned by Ziff Davis) notes that Starlink’s median download speed in Morgan County, Alabama, reached 168 Mbit/s. Starlink’s slowest median download speed for the U.S. in the quarter, at 64.5 Mbit/s, appeared in Madison County, Indiana.

There’s only a slight difference between Starlink and broadband wireline networks in the upstream direction.  Ookla said Starlink’s median upload speed for Q1 2021 was 13.89 Mbit/s, compared to a median upload speed of 17.18 Mbit/s among U.S. fixed wireline broadband networks.  Meanwhile, both Viasat and HughesNet trailed with median upload speeds of 3.38 Mbit/s and 2.43 Mbit/s, respectively.

Starlink’s growing network of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites continued to deliver relatively low latencies, important for apps such as online gaming and videoconferencing, when compared to geosynchronous (GEO) systems. Ookla said Starlink’s median latency in Q1 2021 was 45 milliseconds. While that was well behind the 14 milliseconds of latency found on fixed-line networks, it was considerably better than the median latency for Viasat (630 milliseconds) and HughesNet (724 milliseconds).

saw sufficient samples during Q2 2021 to analyze Starlink performance in 458 counties in the U.S. While there was about a 100 Mbps range in performance between the county with the fastest median download speed (Morgan County, Alabama at 168.30 Mbps) and the county with the slowest median download speed (Madison County, Indiana at 64.51 Mbps), even the lower-end speeds are well above the FCC’s Baseline performance tier of at least a 25 Mbps download speed. We also saw many more counties qualify for analysis during Q2 2021 than we saw in Q1 2021.

United Kingdom: Starlink beats fixed broadband providers

Starlink showed a much faster median download speed in the U.K. during Q2 2021 (108.30 Mbps) than the country’s average for fixed broadband (50.14 Mbps). Starlink’s upload speed was also slightly faster (15.64 Mbps vs. 14.76 Mbps), and the latency was pretty good, given the distance traveled (37 ms vs. 15 ms). This brings Starlink closer to contender status for consumers across the U.K., not just those stranded in internet-free zones in Northern Scotland, once the service interruptions are under control. It also shows that because satellite internet is not constrained by the infrastructure of a given country, there is the potential to radically outperform fixed broadband.

This data is changing rapidly as satellite internet providers launch new service locations and improve their technology. Ookla will be excited to see if Starlink is still the satellite provider to beat next quarter and in what other countries satellite internet provides a viable alternative to fixed broadband.

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References:

https://www.speedtest.net/insights/blog/starlink-hughesnet-viasat-performance-q2-2021/

https://www.pcmag.com/news/starlink-moves-closer-to-matching-or-even-beating-fixed-broadband-speeds

https://www.lightreading.com/satellite/starlink-speeds-accelerate-in-q2-ookla-says-/a/d-id/771322?

Starlink now covers all of UK; Plans to connect vehicles with satellite Internet service

OneWeb Launches 36 LEO satellites, 254 in orbit, funding deals & UK coverage too!

OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, announced the successful launch of another 36 satellites to mark the completion of its ‘Five to 50’ mission.

The latest launch takes OneWeb’s in-orbit constellation to 254 satellites, or 40% of OneWeb’s planned fleet of 648 LEO satellites that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity. OneWeb intends to make global service available in 2022.

With this major milestone, the company is ready to deliver connectivity across the United Kingdom, Canada, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, and the Arctic Region.  Commercial satellite Internet service should be rolled out by the end of 2021 with a global service following next year, the company said.

Service demonstrations will begin this summer in several key locations – including Alaska and Canada – as OneWeb prepares for commercial service in the next six months. Offering enterprise-grade connectivity services, the Company has already announced distribution partnerships across several industries and businesses including with BT, ROCK Network, AST Group, PDI, Alaska Communications and others, as OneWeb expands its global capabilities.

The company continues to engage with telecommunications providers, ISPs, and governments worldwide to offer its low-latency, high-speed connectivity services and sees growing demand for new solutions to connect the hardest to reach places.

The launch of the latest 36 satellites was conducted by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrom. Liftoff occurred on 1 July at 13:48 BST. OneWeb’s satellites separated from the rocket and were dispensed in 9 batches over a period of 3 hours 52 minutes with signal acquisition on all 36 satellites confirmed.

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

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The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson, MP, said: “This latest launch of OneWeb satellites will put high-speed broadband within reach of the whole Northern Hemisphere later this year, including improving connectivity in the remotest parts of the UK.

“Backed by the British Government, OneWeb proves what is possible when public and private investment come together, putting the UK at the forefront of the latest technologies, opening up new markets, and ultimately transforming the lives of people around the world.”

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, Executive Chairman of OneWeb, said: “Today’s momentous milestone demonstrates that OneWeb is now a leader in LEO broadband connectivity, serving a wide range of stakeholders across the Northern Hemisphere. This fifth launch amid the unprecedented global pandemic is truly remarkable and I congratulate the management team and fellow shareholders on the success.

“Bharti’s doubling of its investment earlier this week is testament to the commitment to OneWeb’s mission. We now look forward to the next chapter in OneWeb’s story, preparing the company for commercial service in the less than six months to deliver our global connectivity solutions to communities around the world.”

The Rt. Hon. Kwasi Kwarteng, MP, Secretary of State, BEIS, added: “Today’s launch is an exciting milestone in providing some of the world’s most remote locations with fast, UK-backed broadband less than a year since British government investment made this possible. With yet another successful mission, the people of the UK can be proud that this country is at the heart of the latest advances in small satellite technology.

“OneWeb’s coverage across the Northern Hemisphere now puts the United Kingdom at the forefront of the latest developments in Low Earth Orbit technology, and we will capitalise on the company’s unique position within this growing market to build a strong domestic space industry and cement our status as a global science and technology superpower.”

Neil Masterson, OneWeb CEO, said: “This is a truly historic moment for OneWeb, the culmination of months of positive momentum in our ‘Five to 50’ programme, increased investment from our global partners and the rapid onboarding of new customers. We are incredibly excited to start delivering high-speed, low-latency connectivity first to the UK and the Arctic region and to see our network scale over the coming months as we continue building to global service. Thanks to all our incredible partners who have been with us on this journey and are instrumental to making OneWeb’s mission a success.”

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Funding Deals:

OneWeb resumed satellite launches in December 2020 after emerging from bankruptcy protection with $1 billion in equity investment from a consortium of the British government and India’s Bharti Enterprises.  It has also received investment from Japan’s Softbank and Eutelsat Communications, and further financing from Bharti. OneWeb said on Tuesday it was fully-funded and had secured $2.4 billion in total.

Earlier this week, OneWeb secured another $500 million in funding, bringing its total funding to $2.4 billion. This new cash injection came from Bharti under a Call Option agreement and is expected to be completed in the second half of this year.  According to the BBC, the funding will see Bharti take a 39% stake in OneWeb, making it the company’s biggest shareholder. The UK government, Eutelsat and SoftBank will each own 19.3% of the firm.

“In just a year and during a global pandemic, together we have transformed OneWeb, bringing the operation back to full-scale,” said Bharti Global’s managing director Shravin Mittal. “With this round of financing, we complete the funding requirements.”

The funding announcement came on the heels of news that OneWeb had struck a deal with BT as the UK incumbent operator looks to improve its coverage of more remote areas.

References:

https://www.oneweb.world/media-center/oneweb-completes-its-five-to-50-mission

https://www.reuters.com/technology/oneweb-launches-satellites-roll-out-northern-internet-service-2021-07-01/

https://www.lightreading.com/satellite/oneweb-new-chapter-with-northern-hemisphere-push/d/d-id/770647?

Webcast playback Launch highlights available View on OneWeb YouTube

Launch Imagery Launch #8 Media Kit

Launch Partner Arianespace and Glavkosmos

Launch Facility Soyuz Launch Complex, Vostochny Cosmodrome

OneWeb receives investment from Eutelsat Communications; LEO satellite constellation for global internet service