FCC Grants OneWeb U.S. Access

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2017 (FCC PR) – The Federal Communications Commission today approved a request by WorldVu Satellites Limited, which does business as OneWeb, to access the United States satellite market. Today’s action paves the way for OneWeb to provide broadband services using satellite technology that holds unique promise to expand Internet access in remote and rural areas across the country.

This approval is the first of its kind for a new generation of large, non-geostationary-satellite orbit (NGSO), fixed-satellite service (FSS) systems. OneWeb proposes to access the U.S. market for
its global network of 720 low-Earth orbit satellites using the Ka (20/30 GHz) and Ku (11/14 GHz) frequency bands to provide global Internet connectivity. The satellite system will be authorized by the United Kingdom, but needs FCC approval to provide service in the U.S.

“As I stated during last year’s #Solutions2020 Policy Forum, we must maintain a laser focus on finding solutions for those who lack access to the communications services needed for today’s connected
world,” said FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. “The proposals offered by OneWeb and others participating in this NGSO FSS processing round offer us an opportunity, once again, to pivot away from simply discussing the problem to finding solutions.”

In order for large broadband network constellations to deliver services in the U.S., the FCC must approve their operations to ensure the satellite constellation does not cause interference to other users of the same spectrum and will operate in a way that manages the risk of collisions.

The Order and Declaratory Ruling adopted today outlines the conditions under which OneWeb will be permitted to provide service using its proposed NGSO FSS satellite constellation in the
United States. As such, this FCC action provides a blueprint for the earth station licenses that OneWeb, or its partners, will need to obtain before providing OneWeb’s proposed service in the
United States.

OneWeb was the first of several entities to file a request seeking FCC authority to deploy a large constellation of NGSO FSS satellites to provide ubiquitous broadband services. The FCC is currently examining additional applications for the operation of NGSO FSS constellations, most of which include large numbers of satellites. With today’s action, the Commission facilitates greater broadband offerings and competition in the United States.