FCC Approves Satellite Based Service to Provide Internet Services in the United States

OneWeb is a company that is launching a constellation of satellites to provide affordable high-speed Internet access across the world. During its monthly open meeting last week, the FCC unanimously voted in favor of granting OneWeb market access to the US. The FCC has approved OneWeb’s request to deploy a global network of 720 low-Earth orbit satellites using the Ka (20/30 GHz) and Ku (11/14 GHz) frequency bands “to provide global Internet connectivity.”

OneWeb was the first of several entities to file a request seeking FCC approval to deploy low-Earth orbit satellites for broadband services. The FCC is currently examining additional applications for the operation of NGSO FSS constellations, most of which include large numbers of satellites. The FCC also noted that OneWeb’s satellite system will be also be authorized by the United Kingdom.

OneWeb was founded in 2012 when it invented a unique capability to unlock and efficiently reuse spectrum under the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) rules known as "Article 22". The Article 22 rules were approved at the 1997 World Radiocommunication Conference with the hope that new technologies would eventually be developed which could meet these requirements and enable ubiquitous communications for remote and rural areas. Over the past 12 months OneWeb has been supplying system operation and design details to the FCC for international regulatory compliance requirements and to achieve a license to provide these services in the US.

According to Greg Wyler, OneWeb Founder and Executive Chairman - Today's decision is an important step in helping to bring much needed low latency broadband access to Americans living in remote and hard to serve areas. OneWeb was founded with the mission to bridge the global digital divide and will begin services in Alaska as early as 2019. It’s affordable ubiquitous broadband infrastructure will enable our Solution Partner ISP’s to create new opportunities for rural America in healthcare, education and business, leading to a more digitally inclusive society.

The company plans to provide inexpensive internet to up to 1 billion subscribers worldwide with download speeds of up to 200 Mbps, upload speeds of up to 50 Mbps and lower latency that existing services. The first satellite should be in orbit and operational in less than a year.