The satellite internet challenge starts: Oneweb challenges Musk and the Chinese arrive
The first to think of distributing the internet from space was Elon Musk, once again, with his Starlink constellation, but his success, also geopolitical and military, has paved the way for several other operators, including institutional ones, which are now in ferment.
Starlink operates with relatively small and cheap satellites, launched by SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, also by Musk, by the dozens at a time. Nominally they allow you to have fast internet access in every point of the globe, including the ocean, but this only when the constellation is complete, at the moment, more than 4,000 satellites in orbit, however, cover various points of the globe.
Since they are in low orbit, the earth-satellite latency time of 400 kilometers and vice versa is very low, and this is a great advantage compared to the large telecommunications satellites used up to now, which are in geostationary orbit at over 30,000 kilometers above the ground. therefore with latency times of the order of a tenth of a second.
However, the market is not Musk's monopoly, on the contrary, the utility demonstrated by the Starlink satellites even in the context of the war in Ukraine has made various new players understand, obviously commercial but also governmental, including Europe, as the possession of an analogous constellation is now a question that cannot be postponed in order to maintain one's position on the world stage.
This is how Oneweb came back to the fore, which also started early, which with the latest launch a few days ago reached 580 satellites, very close to the final value expected for the complete constellation. At the end of May the satellites will cover from the central Mediterranean to the Pole and by the end of 2023 the equatorial belt will also be covered and in symmetry the network will extend to the southern hemisphere.