BT and OneWeb have agreed terms for a new Distribution Partner Agreement, with OneWeb to provide Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communication services across BT Group.
This builds on an initial Memorandum of Understanding signed in July and means BT is testing how LEO satellite technology integrates with its existing terrestrial capabilities to meet the communications needs of customers.
On successful completion, BT will commence the first live trials with customers from early next year. The partnership will span a growing range of connectivity solutions around the world as well as specific opportunities for the UK market.
Philip Jansen, chief executive of BT Group, says: “Space is an emerging and enormous digital opportunity, and this is an important step towards harnessing its potential for BT’s customers across the globe. We will put OneWeb’s technology through its paces in our UK labs with the goal of delivering live trials in early 2022. Delivered securely and at scale, satellite solutions will be an important part of our plans to expand connectivity throughout the UK and globally, and to further diversify the range of services we can offer our customers.”
OneWeb’s CEO Neil Masterson comments: “BT has taken the lead in the recognition of LEO satellite’s advantage. We are delighted as this agreement with BT Group represents an important strategic partnership for OneWeb as we continue to make progress towards our operational launch. We are excited to be playing such a key role in improving the resilience of the overall telecom infrastructure in the UK. OneWeb’s connectivity platform will help bridge the last digital divides across the country and enhance the nation’s digital infrastructure.”
OneWeb is expected to deliver global coverage by June 2022 through a constellation of 648 LEO satellites and is poised to deliver services from the North Pole to the 50th parallel, covering the entire UK, later this year.
The new partnership supports BT’s wider network ambition, set out in July this year, to deliver digital solutions across the entire UK by 2028, through a combination of an expanded network and ‘on demand,’ requestable solutions anywhere beyond. In building a converged, software-defined network, BT will leverage and integrate both terrestrial and non-terrestrial technologies to deliver on the goal of seamless, ubiquitous connectivity.