OneWeb wants to girdle the planet with around 650 satellites to provide global broadband coverage. To do this the company needs the permission of major countries to send and receive signals from the overhead satellites. Russia has refused to grant these rights to OneWeb.
OneWeb had applied to the Russian State Commission for Radio Frequencies to approve the use of OneWeb’s signals. Specialist publication Bleeping Computer says the reason could be anxieties by Russia that it could not control the services from and to OneWeb’s satellites.
In May Russia’s President Putin signed a Bill which obliges all Russian web-traffic had to pass through points controlled by the government.
GfK says that a quarter of Russians do not have Internet access. The latest refusal of OneWeb was a sign that the country’s authorities remain keen to continue tightening their control of internet access, said Prof Christopher Newman at Northumbria University, speaking to the BBC. “[Satellite internet] presents an existential strategic threat to their trying to limit internet activity within their boundaries.”
OneWeb already has 6 satellites in orbit and last month started mass-production of satellites at a rate of two per day.
Somehwhat bizarrely, OneWeb will be using Russian-built rockets to launch the bulk of its satellite fleet.