BT has signed a Distribution Partner Agreement with OneWeb that will see the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite firm provide connectivity services across BT Group.
The agreement builds on a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two companies in July. As part of the previous agreement, OneWeb promised to help BT to bridge “the last digital divides” across the UK.
BT says that satellite services form a key component of its vision to enable digital solutions anywhere in the UK by 2028.
Philip Jansen, Chief Executive of BT Group, said:
“Space is an emerging and enormous digital opportunity, and this is an important step towards harnessing its potential for BT’s customers across the globe.
We will put OneWeb’s technology through its paces in our UK labs with the goal of delivering live trials in early 2022.
Delivered securely and at scale, satellite solutions will be an important part of our plans to expand connectivity throughout the UK and globally, and to further diversify the range of services we can offer our customers.”
The UK Government, alongside Bharti Group, stepped in to purchase a majority stake in OneWeb last year to save the innovative company from collapse after crucial funding was pulled at the last minute due to the pandemic.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng commented: “I am thrilled to see the UK at the forefront of this emerging technology thanks to the Government’s investment in OneWeb – a crucial part of our plans to cement our status as a global science and technology superpower.”
OneWeb is now going from strength-to-strength. Back in January, the company received $400 million from SoftBank and Hughes Network Group. Then, in April, GEO satellite giant Eutelsat took a quarter stake in OneWeb.
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “The agreement between OneWeb and BT will help bring fast and reliable global connectivity, from the Highlands to the Himalayas.
“I’m delighted these two British companies have joined forces to research the technological benefits of working together, and I look forward to exploring how this could play a role in our mission to put hard-to-reach areas in the digital fast lane.”
As two British companies, the partners will support the UK Government’s National Space Strategy.
OneWeb is expected to deliver global coverage by June 2022 through a constellation of 648 LEO satellites. The company is poised to deliver services from the North Pole to the 50th parallel – covering the entire UK – later this year.
(Image Credit: OneWeb)
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