Bharti Enterprise-backed OneWeb is a step away from completing its constellation of over 600 low earth orbit satellites, paving the way for offering broadband internet services to every corner of the world from space.

OneWeb, a company backed by the British government, Bharti Enterprises, Eutelsat, SoftBank, Hughes Networks and Hanwha, has launched internet from space services to countries located above 50 degrees north latitude – Alaska, Canada, Greenland, the UK and northern Europe.

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LVM-3) is set to launch 36 OneWeb satellites from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on March 26, a move that will replace the United Kingdom-based company’s existing constellation. Will add to 582 satellites.

“We are one launch away from achieving global coverage. This final launch with ISRO/NSIL will mark over 600 satellites in space, the number needed to go live commercially,” a OneWeb spokesperson told PTI. told.

NewsSpace India Limited (NSIL) is the commercial arm of ISRO entrusted with the task of building rockets and satellites through industry for delivery of space services.

Weather permitting, ISRO’s LVM-3 is set to place 36 OneWeb satellites into low Earth orbit on March 26. This will be the second time OneWeb is using ISRO’s satellite launch services. The first batch of 36 OneWeb satellites was launched from Sriharikota on October 23 last year.

ISRO’s upcoming launch on LVM-3 will be the 18th launch for OneWeb. On March 9, SpaceX’s Falcon-9 rocket placed 40 OneWeb satellites into orbit.

“This year, we plan to launch services across the globe,” the spokesperson said.

OneWeb plans to launch services in India later this year, subject to regulatory approval and a GMPCS (Global Mobile Personal Communications by Satellite Services) permit from the Department of Telecommunications as well as permission to set up an earth station. already received. “There is a need to take other permission from the Department of Space. We will have clarity on this after the space policy comes out.

Lt Gen Bhatt said the space policy is in the final stages of approval and is expected to come out this year.

“We are confident of launching our services to India later this year and have announced a distribution agreement with Hughes to provide the services,” said a OneWeb spokesperson.

Approvals for private businesses that were earlier granted by ISRO will now have to be routed through the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (INSPACe), a single-window nodal agency for the private sector.

OneWeb is a wholesale provider of Internet services via its constellation of satellites, unlike the Starlink service offered directly to individual users by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

“We offer our network services to telecom companies, internet service providers, enterprises and governments to access our high-speed low latency service,” the spokesperson said.

OneWeb had reportedly approached ISRO to launch 72 satellites at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore as it had to scrap arrangements with Russia’s Soyuz rockets following the Ukraine conflict.

OneWeb uses a constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites to provide broadband Internet access instead of the traditional method of using satellites placed in Geostationary Orbits (GEO) 36,000 kilometers above the equator.

LEO satellites placed in orbits ranging from 200 km to 1,500 km above Earth – compared to 36,000 km for GEO satellites – significantly increase bandwidth and reduce latency in space to about 50–70 milliseconds (ms). , said a report by GSMA Intelligence, an industry body. Latency refers to the time taken by a data packet to be transmitted from a user to an Internet service provider via a satellite network. Latency for GEO satellite networks is in the range of 500–700 ms, which limits their use to 2G and 3G communications.