FCC Grants Approval for OneWeb Megaconstellation

OneWeb Satellite LEO

Artist’s rendition of a OneWeb satellite. Photo: OneWeb

Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, released a statement this week confirming that the FCC has approved OneWeb’s petition to enter the U.S. market with its planned constellation of 720 satellites.

According to OneWeb, its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation will make broadband access available to individuals across the world who have limited or no access today. When fully deployed, OneWeb’s system will support a variety of services in the U.S. and globally, including cellular backhaul, mobility services, community and residential internet access, and emergency communications.

OneWeb’s constellation will operate at an altitude of 1,200 km, enabling low latency internet access that is comparable with terrestrial solutions, according to the company. Low latency is required for supporting cloud-based applications such as trading, e-games, e-medicine, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) services. The system will use Ku-band user terminals, and a small number of globally distributed Ka-band gateway antennas.

“After OneWeb filed its petition, several other companies did the same or applied for a U.S. license in the same spectrum bands,” said Pai. “We hope to approve many more constellations because we know that the more companies compete, the more consumers win. Additionally, the Commission also has an ongoing rulemaking proceeding proposing to update the current NGSO Fixed Satellite Service rules to better accommodate this next generation of systems.”

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