OneWeb Satellites -- a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus -- has propelled satellite broadband into the next dimension with the opening of a facility that, according to the company, is capable of producing up to two satellites per day at approximately one-fiftieth of the cost of traditional satellite builders.
This latest stride in broadband satellite innovation arrives about 50 years after man first walked on the moon: In fact, OneWeb Satellites' factory is located only a few miles south of the Kennedy Space Center launch pad where NASA launched that "giant leap." When combined with reusable rockets and increasingly larger constellations of small, low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites, the "high-volume, high-speed advanced satellite production facility" (as OneWeb Satellites describes it), continues to reshape the satellite broadband industry once dominated by a handful of companies.
"By producing high quality satellites at a fraction of the cost and schedule of traditional manufacturers, we are not only enabling OneWeb to connect the planet, we are making space dramatically more accessible to everyone," said Tony Gingiss, CEO of One Web Satellites, in a statement.
Secret on the Space Coast
Tucked away behind Merritt Island's canals and marshes is a state-of-the-art facility where a staff of about 250 people and assorted automation tools make satellites. (Source: OpenWeb Satellites)
At first, the facility -- located in Merritt Island, Fla., next door to the Kennedy Space Center -- will support OneWeb's construction of its constellation of 650 satellites. This will eventually scale up to 1,980 satellites to target global connectivity, according to OneWeb Satellites. The company announced it successfully tested six satellites in low-earth orbit earlier this month.
"With today's opening, we are one step closer to connecting the unconnected for the benefit of societies all over the world," said Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb, in a release. "As we gear up for more satellite launches at the end of the year, this facility will ensure we can begin delivering global connectivity in some areas as early as next year and globally in 2021."
At first, OneWeb wants to cover the earth with broadband, then focus on adding capacity to meet ongoing demands, the company said.
On Jan. 23, Broadband World News hosts a Calix-sponsored webinar that explores several ways CSPs can enhance customer experience and find new business opportunities to avoid devolving into a speed race where nobody wins, not even the customer.
As the pool of savvy, fiber-rich operators across the US rural and regional landscape wanes, the financial community will grow even more interested in acquiring or investing in them, a CoBank report says.
It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
This webinar will focus on helping CSPs transform their business models by placing a firm focus on delivering a sensational subscriber experience and by offering compelling new services that generate value for subscribers. These actions will reinforce the CSP's strategic position in the home network and position themselves for growth in the next decade.
Key topics include:
Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
Having the insights needed to proactively resolve issues, often before your subscribers even know that there are issues;
Providing help desk agents with the visibility they need to resolve common subscriber issues more quickly;
Delivering a mobile app, in response to consumer demands for the ability to do some things themselves, rather than having to call technical support; and
Addressing consumer concerns around device security, privacy and control with enhanced security and parental controls.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.