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Wholesale deal for Australia sees OneWeb finally move south

Peter Bolger Pivotel.jpg

OneWeb showed the first signs that it is ready to move into the southern hemisphere with a new distribution deal covering Australia and New Zealand.

The move follows OneWeb’s resumption of its launch programme at the weekend, using an Indian launcher. The company plans further Indian and US launches over the next few months to achieve its goal of 648 satellites.

This week’s deal is with Pivotel, an Australian company that also operates in New Zealand, Indonesia and the US.

CEO Peter Bolger (pictured) said: “The agreement between OneWeb and Pivotel will bring fast, reliable, low-latency connectivity with lower contention rates to areas where it’s needed most. Australia’s rural and remote communities and organisations haven’t had access to this kind of service before.”

Pivotel also plans to offer wholesale services for ICT system integrators, value-added resellers, and smaller telco customers, it said. “This includes backhaul deployments for mobility or fixed wireless connectivity in some of Australia’s underserved remote regions, including aboriginal communities, for its ecosphere cellular solutions.”

The deal puts OneWeb in direct competition with Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), a wholesale company that provides fibre and fixed wireless in urban areas and uses satellite services in the vast rural stretches of the country.

Bolger said: “We see OneWeb’s cutting-edge satellite technology as a game-changer for many regional operators and believe the service will become the catalyst that allows organisations to improve productivity, efficiency and safety across sites or entire regions.”

OneWeb’s schedule was stalled at the start of March when Russia invaded Ukraine, as the company used Russian launchers and launch sites. At the weekend NewSpace India (NSIL) put up 36 new satellites, to take OneWeb’s total to 462, and NSIL and SpaceX are to launch the rest – up to 648 – between now and mid-2023, a year late.

OneWeb, which is shortly merging with Eutelsat, can deliver reliable services north of 50°N at the moment, but plans global coverage later in 2023.

Darren Cooley, Pivotel’s head of sales and marketing, sees government, mining and construction customers for OneWeb. “Enterprise and government customers need business-grade high bandwidth connectivity for legacy and contemporary applications with low latency. The combination of OneWeb’s business solutions and Pivotel’s satellite expertise is great news for our enterprise and government customers.”