Journalist Chris Forrester has posted at the Advanced Television infosite that OneWeb wants to girdle the planet with around 650 satellites to provide global broadband coverage. To do this, the company needs the permission of major countries to send and receive signals from the overhead satellites — Russia has refused to grant these rights to OneWeb.
OneWeb had applied to the Russian State Commission for Radio Frequencies to approve the use of OneWeb’s signals. Specialist publication Bleeping Computer said the reason could be anxieties by Russia that it could not control the services from, and to, OneWeb’s satellites.
In May Russia’s President Putin signed a bill that obliges all Russian web-traffic to pass through points that are controlled by the government.
GfK stated that a quarter of Russians do not have internet access. The latest refusal for the OneWeb platform was a sign that the country’s authorities remain keen to continue tightening their control of internet access, according to Professor Christopher Newman at Northumbria University, speaking to the BBC. “[Satellite internet] presents an existential strategic threat to their trying to limit internet activity within their boundaries.”
OneWeb already has 6 satellites on-orbit and, last month, started mass-production of satellites at a rate of two per day.
Somewhat ironically, OneWeb will be using Russian-built rockets to launch the bulk of the company’s satellite fleet.