Mega-constellation OneWeb promises to start commercial services in 2021.
CEO Adrian Steckel, speaking to The Australian newspaper, said that the first important stage is to start launching batches of Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites at a rate of 35 a month, every month, from this coming December.
OneWeb, in partnership with Airbus, is now building those satellites at a rate of at least one a day. The launch rate will continue until there are 650 satellites in orbit. It will take 20 launches to achieve that target.
Steckel told the newspaper that he was in Australia to secure co-operation from two Earth Aussie stations (needed to relay consumer traffic into and from the Web). Steckel added that these LEO-based services would be complementary to fibre and other ground-based delivery technologies.
“And we’re all about broadening the use case of satellites. We see a future where you have flat panel antennas in a car, on a train, on a plane and on a boat that are inexpensive, and allow you to get quality broadband at speed.”
The broadband capacity target is to supply one Terabit/second to consumers initially. As extra satellites are lifted into space that overall throughput would jump ten-fold or more.