Wyler: OneWeb to Launch First Satellites in May

Planned OneWeb production facility in Exploration Park, Fla. (Credit: OneWeb)

Testimony of Greg Wyler
Founder and Executive Chairman,
Worldu Satellites Limited (OneWeb)

Before Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Technology
Oct. 25, 2017

Selected Excerpts

This is a great time to discuss our progress as we are investing over $4 billion to build the world’s first large scale satellite constellation, and will begin launching our fleet in the coming months.

In 2019 we will begin bridging the American digital divide by making low latency broadband available for every citizen in Alaska. The next year, OneWeb’s broadband will reach every square mile of America and its territories, leaving no one behind. This means a brighter future for the half of America with substandard access to the internet, primarily in rural areas, and will be a foundation for ubiquitous 5G service, enabling the Internet of Things, connected vehicles, telemedicine and online education. Importantly, as a global system, we will connect American small businesses to the 50% of global markets that currently have limited or no access.

Our initial system with peak speeds of 500mbps is just the beginning. Our second constellation, planned for 2021, will augment the first and increase this speed, up to 2.5gbps, for every rural home. Beyond this we have a third constellation planned for 2023 which will continue to increase our total capacity until we can reach 1 billion users globally by 2025. In total we will potentially invest nearly $30 billion to achieve our mission of fully bridging the global digital divide by 2027.

OneWeb’s capacity is more in line with a terrestrial system than historical GEO satellites. For instance, the total GEO satellite capacity today is several terabits per second (tbps). In comparison, OneWeb will have seven tbps in its first constellation, over 120 tbps in its second, and approach one Petabit per second (1000 tbps) by 2025.

Importantly, access to our services will be simple. The services will be offered by local ISPs and telecom providers. The terminals will be small, inexpensive, and lightweight so they can be installed by anyone. They will be low power so they can operate from built-in batteries or a solar panel. This unique aspect of OneWeb’s system design will be a game-changer for those with intermittent power or those without power in emergency situations, rural areas and developing countries.

With thousands of satellites to build, hundreds of rockets to order and launch, and billions of people to connect to our system, this is not easy. But we have made significant progress. OneWeb’s production satellites are under construction. The rockets are in place and our first launch is in May….

OneWeb has raised nearly $2 billion in equity from shareholders with deep industry and distribution expertise, including Qualcomm, Hughes, Intelsat, Coca-Cola, Airbus Group, the Virgin Group, and the Softbank Group.

OneWeb is one of the world’s largest launch purchasers and has reserved and/or manifested launch capacity from Blue Origin, Arianespace and Virgin Galactic….

OneWeb innovated the first low-cost, high performance NGSO satellites for mass production, leading to the creation of the world’s first and largest purpose-built production satellite factory responsible for 250 new engineering jobs in Exploration Park, Florida.

To build this system we needed to break new ground in satellite manufacturing. Earlier this year we did just that, and our $85 million specialized facility in Florida will soon start production. Capable of producing 15 satellites per week, this new factory has also had multiplier effects for the regional economy. For instance, this summer RUAG, a space components manufacturer, moved its facilities from Switzerland to Titusville, FL to be near our factory. Their foreign direct investment in America is creating 80 new jobs in an area which has been hit hard following the retirement of the Space Shuttle.