OneWeb successfully launches final satellites offering high-speed internet to Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - OneWeb launched the final rocket in their ‘Five to 50′ project this week. The successful launch added 36 additional low Earth orbit satellites to the sky, providing enough hardware to enable connectivity and service for all regions above the 50th parallel, which includes the entirety of Alaska.
“Just imagine for education, for telemedicine, for businesses, we’ll be able to connect those communities, give them connectivity,” said OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson.
Former Alaska Senator Lesil McGuire, currently a consultant for OneWeb, agrees:
“We’ve been left behind in many ways,” McGuire said. “We refer to it as the digital divide here in Alaska and OneWeb represents an opportunity to meaningfully close that digital divide.”
Upon reaching space, Masterson said it takes about three hours for the satellites to spread out and settle into their effective positions. The satellites will not only communicate with one another but also with ground bases around the world. In Alaska, a facility located in Talkeetna has 29 antennas that will do the job.
While OneWeb is the company that has launched the satellites, it will not be the internet provider. In Alaska, they have partnered with Microcom, a local company, which will be the point of contact for retail users.
OneWeb officials said commercial service is expected to be rolled out before the end of the year, and OneWeb intends to make global service available in 2022.
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