Communications specialist Speedcast is set to become a OneWeb distribution partner, integrating OneWeb’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite connectivity into Speedcast’s Unified Global Platform (UGP), further speeding up and diversifying shipping’s sat comm options.
OneWeb is set to enter customer trials in mid-2022, bringing in LEO service for Speedcast’s energy and enterprise customers followed by maritime mobility in 2023.
Neil Masterson, CEO at OneWeb, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to enter into a distribution agreement with Speedcast, further extending our mission to provide connectivity to the remotest places on Earth. This agreement will enable Speedcast to expand its expertise in integrated connectivity services for the maritime, energy and enterprise industries with OneWeb’s LEO satellite innovations.”
Speedcast has also recently been commissioned to develop critical ground infrastructure for OneWeb to support the fleet operator’s Earth Station requirements in parts of Latin America. This agreement reaffirms OneWeb’s commitment and mission to deliver enterprise grade connectivity for those hardest to reach. OneWeb’s LEO constellation currently includes 428 satellites in orbit, representing two-thirds of its planned fleet, with launches planned to continue later in 2022.
Another sat comm provider, Marlink, signed a similar deal with OneWeb last month with OneWeb saying it will bring “terrestrial-like” connectivity services to all types of commercial users onshore and offshore.
The shipping industry was repeatedly told of the importance this year of new LEOsatellite networks reaching an initial operating capability disrupting the VSAT space in Splash’s maritime tech outlook published earlier this year.
James Collett, managing director of Sperry Marine, told Splash: “This type of high bandwidth, low latency connectivity will unlock a new level in the kind of applications that can be used onboard ship and enable a completely new type of collaborative work and knowledge sharing between ship and shore.”
“Other companies are entering into the fray with alternative affordable satellite solutions including big players like Inmarsat and all this means is that shipping companies will have more options now in terms of communication and cost,” commented Su Yin Anand, co-founder of maritime tech competition, The Captain’s Table.