OneWeb is the satellite communications firm seeking to provide broadband from space. OneWeb is currently in the process of launching a low earth orbit constellation 650 satellites. As of March 2020 they have launched an initial 74 satellites.
OneWeb’s goal is to connect “everyone, everywhere”. The company is particularly motivated to connect schools worldwide. The company, for example, has chosen six schools globally to receive free internet (Alaska, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Ecuador and Honduras). OneWeb also launched a program called #Launchpad to provide curricular materials and inspiration to kids interested in space.
OneWeb’s social mission is traceable to its founder, Greg Wyler. After working in rural Africa, Greg founded O3B Networks (acquired by SES) to launch a network of medium earth orbit satellites to provide global broadband services. Wyler subsequently founded OneWeb, and also provided funding for Project Connect, which is attempting to map every school on the planet.
OneWeb’s ambitions for social good are enormous, but unfortunately so are its cashflow needs. A challenging economic environment as well as competition from SpaceX and Amazon may create challenges moving forward. Ideally OneWeb will succeed in building a successful business that helps connect the next million schools.