Fiber-like connectivity will be available across the entire Arctic from 2020 thanks to a network of low-orbit satellites.
While a number of satellite providers have announced expansions into the Arctic, OneWeb claims to be "the only one capable of providing true high-speed, low-latency internet, at far lower costs than existing suppliers and before any other planned systems."
OneWeb's satellites deliver 375 Gbps of capacity to every country above the 60th parallel North. While 48 percent of the Arctic has some connectivity, OneWeb is promising 24-hour connectivity across the remaining 52 percent.
In 2020, millions across the Arctic will be connected, many for the first time. Hundreds of thousands of homes, planes, and boats will receive high-speed and low-latency connectivity.
“Connectivity is critical in our modern economy,” said U.S. Senator for Alaska Lisa Murkowski. “As the Arctic opens, ensuring the people of the Arctic have access to affordable and reliable broadband will make development safer, more sustainable and create new opportunities for the next generation leading in this dynamic region of the globe.”
OneWeb's satellite network is worth $3.2 billion and is considered vital to delivering smart cities, autonomous transport, and more in a part of the world where such innovations would have once been considered unfeasible.
“Connectivity is now an essential utility and a basic human right," comments Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb. "Our constellation will offer universal high-speed Arctic coverage sooner than any other proposed system meeting the need for widespread connectivity across the Arctic.”
OneWeb's first six satellites have been able to achieve under 40 milliseconds latency. In a demonstration last month, the satellites were shown streaming HD video.
Substantial connectivity in the Arctic will start towards the end of 2020, with full 24-hour coverage being provided by early 2021. OneWeb is already active in Norway and Alaska.
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