OneWeb is to partner with BT in order to offer satellite broadband Internet to rural areas within the UK. This is more so in areas within the British Isles which have geographic conditions where the provision of fixed-line Internet service or fixed-wireless Internet service that implements a wireline backhaul would be a difficult and expensive task.
This is part of the UK’s economic clawback effort being undertaken to get the country on its own feet after the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
BT is also wanting to use OneWeb as part of providing resilience and backhaul functionality for mobile telephony as well as seeing OneWeb as a backhaul for fixed-wireless services. Here, I would see this as part of getting more of the UK’s difficult-to-connect rural areas with up-to-date communications technology.
The question here is how BT will offer this infrastructure to Britons, whether as an Openreach wholesale product for that retail telecommunications providers sell use to sell Internet service. Or whether BT will use the OneWeb partnership to offer a retail satellite broadband service to the rural community.
Another question that will crop up is whether the OneWeb / BT partnership will be also about offer offering “mobile satellite broadband” service. That is about offering satellite broadband installations to vehicles, vessels and aircraft to use anywhere within the UK.
But being in a position to have someone who can offer OneWeb satellite broadband Internet at a retail level can open the path for competition in the low-earth-orbit satellite broadband Internet space. This could be about offering cost-effective decent Internet service to rural areas within the UK at least.