OneWeb, which is taking to the skies to deliver high-speed broadband, has struck a deal with Arianespace to launch its "constellation" of hundreds of microsatellites starting in late 2017.
Deployment is expected to be complete by 2019, after which OneWorld, whose board includes Virgin Group's Richard Branson and Qualcomm executive chairman Paul Jacobs, says it will be able to span the globe to provide high-speed wireless broadband to small, low-cost terminals that can deliver LTE, 3G and Wi-Fi.
The idea is to extend existing wired and mobile ISPs into hard-to-build and extensive-to-build rural areas, using either unlicensed spectrum or the licensed spectrum of an ISP partner to extend coverage, says OneWeb.
It will also provide low-latency broadband in-flight (Branson owns Virgin Atlantic and is also pioneering commercial space travel).
According to Arianespace, OneWeb satellites will be launched into a near polar orbit, which it says will give One Web customers "extremely low latency and providing communications access to the entire world with fiber quality Internet connectivity."