By Amanda Weston
Six satellites from the communications startup OneWeb are now up in space, the first of nearly 2,000 designed to provide internet "everywhere on planet Earth," the company's CEO told Cheddar.
"Our total system is for 1,980 satellites. But our first generation, we're going to launch 650," said OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel. "And with [that] amount of satellites we'll have global coverage of the planet, and so you'll be able to get internet everywhere, including the North Pole, and the only place we don't cover is Antarctica."
Steckel called the recent launch "a little nerve-wracking," but "a great success."
By roughly 2021 OneWeb plans to offer 5G-ready internet coverage. But Steckel noted the consumer buying a new 5G phone isn't the company's target market. Instead, he said OneWeb wants to be a complement to terrestrial networks.
"We're to cover the other billions of people that don't have coverage today, and the economics don't work for terrestrial networks to go to those sparsely populated areas," Steckel said. "You go to the steps of Russia or places in Canada, or other countries where it's few people over big geographies. That'll be portions of Latin America, portions of Africa. And so we're looking to be a complement."
"Essentially we want to extend coverage everywhere on planet Earth," he added.
Steckel said the company's biggest shareholder is SoftBank. However, Qualcomm ($QCOM), Airbus, and Coca-Cola ($KO) are just a few of the other companies on board.
"At the core of our DNA is a mission that is motivating every employee at the company to come and do something that has incredible social impact," Steckel said.
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