Intelsat enters strategic alliance with OneWeb

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Earth as seen from spaceIntelsat has entered into a commercial agreement with OneWeb, the venture planning to build, deploy and operate a low earth orbit (“LEO”) Ku-band satellite constellation.

Under the agreement, Intelsat will partner with OneWeb to use OneWeb’s LEO platform, once established, to complement Intelsat’s geostationary orbit (“GEO”) satellite services.

This will give the first and only fully global, pole-to-pole Ku-band high throughput satellite system.

Intelsat also announced it will make a minority share investment of $25 million in OneWeb.

The companies will also collaborate to develop hybrid LEO/GEO end-user access terminals, furthering Intelsat’s vision to lower the cost and accessibility of satellite-based broadband and unlock new markets for satellite broadband.

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Intelsat CEO, Stephen Spengler, said: “As the world’s first and largest provider of commercial satellite services, Intelsat believes that the opportunity for space-based communications is at a new inflection point, especially as broadband connectivity has become an essential input to economic growth for individuals, businesses and communities.

“In this context, we are accessing new technologies and leveraging sector innovations to the benefit of our customers and our network.

“Through this partnership with OneWeb, we will further differentiate our own GEO infrastructure, including our next generation Intelsat EpicNG high performance satellites that will begin to launch in the first quarter of 2016.”

By complementing its GEO services with LEO services, Intelsat will be able to provide connectivity over the Earth’s poles.

At this stage it is not known whether the LEO Ku-band constellation would be used for aero inflight connectivity applications.

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