Telstra recently announced a deal to use OneWeb's LEO Satellite constellation to provide backhaul to remote sites. The telco said that the deal will deliver up to 25Gbps of capacity to mobile sites that currently rely on satellite backhaul and also plans to use OneWeb services for future sites where satellite backhaul is the preferred or only viable option. Telstra and OneWeb are set to deliver one of the world’s largest rollouts of OneWeb low Earth Orbit (LEO) backhaul for a commercial mobile network. After testing in Australia, Telstra and OneWeb have agreed commercial terms and will begin moving hundreds of existing remote mobile base stations currently using satellite backhaul to OneWeb’s LEO solution from later this year. Meanwhile, Telstra will adopt OneWeb LEO services for future sites where satellite backhaul is the preferred or only viable option.
In 2022 Telstra and OneWeb signed a non-exclusive memorandum of understanding to explore Satellite Technology solutions in the Asia Pacific region with the Telstra aiming to deliver an additional 100,000 square kilometres of mobile coverage by the end of Financial Year 2025. A test program was developed, with initial testing performed in the UK and then expanding later into Australia.
The two companies subsequently collaborated on a joint test program, starting with basic voice testing and then extending through a complete portfolio of emergency services. Testing was initially performed in the northern hemisphere and later in Australia once gaps in the constellation was rectified with subsequent LEO Satellite launched.
“LEO satellite connectivity creates lots of interesting opportunities for our consumer, small business and enterprise customers – especially those that require continuous coverage or added redundancy – from backhaul to back-up for resiliency, from IoT to supporting emergency services, from home broadband to supporting agritech." said Telstra Group Executive, Networks and IT, Nikos Katinakis.
“Initially we did some testing with Telstra in the UK,” Thorn said. “Telstra sent some engineers across to our facility just outside of London and we did some basic voice testing and then extended that right way through the whole portfolio of emer- gency services, even fax calls, and we double hopped them over the LEO constellation in the north.” A spokesperson for OneWeb said "Telstra had been pleased with the stability and performance of the constellation, which today comprises more than 630 satellites."
OneWeb is expecting to have full coverage and launch services in Australia mid- year, with worldwide services available in early 2024. OneWeb has been building its initial constellation of 648 satellites and has 428 satellites in low earth orbit already. The remaining satellites will be launched over coming months. Services are available in Alaska, Canada, UK and the Arctic region. By late 2023, it will be offering its high-speed, low-latency connectivity services worldwide.
Telstra Group executive global networks and technology Nikos Katinakis (right) said: “The deal with OneWeb will help us to improve our options for our consumer, small business and enter prise customers living or working in rural and regional Australia – especially those in remote areas that require added redundancy in the instance of a power or transmission incident.”
Telstra expects to be able to deploy mobile base stations using OneWeb's LEO service in late 2023. The OneWeb-Telstra partnership is just one of several partnerships with Australian carriers and global LEOSat operators including Vocus who have been offering Starlink Enterprise services since late 2022 and in 2021 also announced it had signed up as OneWeb's first Australian distribution partner. Optus has begun direct-to-handset tests with Lynk and NBN Co is currently testing the potential to use LEOSat technology to provide coverage in regional areas.
OneWeb is a global communications network powered from space, headquartered in London, enabling connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities. It is implementing a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites with a network of global gateway stations and a range of user terminals to provide an affordable, fast, high-speed and low-latency communications service, connected to the IoT future and a pathway to 5G. Find out more at www.oneweb.world.
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