British-headquartered satellite communications company OneWeb is courting the Republic of Georgia with the aim of establishing a ground station in the country and providing its satellite services to bridge the digital divide in the South Caucasus, according to a report from the Azerbaijani Trend News Agency.
Senior executives from OneWeb met with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Davos summit in Switzerland last week, where they discussed a potential formal agreement that would see Georgia be one of the hosts of a OneWeb ground station that will enable the company to provide its satellite broadband services across the Caucasus region that includes the countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
OneWeb is already partnered with Georgian telecommunications company SilkNet, with the two companies participating in a distribution agreement where SilkNet will provide OneWeb’s satellite broadband services across Georgia, to include remote and underserved parts of the country.
“OneWeb’s transformative communications network will make it possible to access high-speed internet anywhere around the globe. I am very pleased to partner with Silknet. OneWeb will help to bridge the digital divide in Georgia and across the Caucasus region,” said Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb.
OneWeb is one of several companies looking to build a low-Earth orbiting (LEO) megaconstellation of communications satellites in order to provide global high-speed satellite broadband with low-latency for the provision of data coverage and Internet-of-Things (IoT) connectivity. Other companies include SpaceX’s Starlink, Telesat, and Amazon’s nascent Project Kuiper.
While much media attention has been paid to the manufacturing and launching of the thousands of satellites in these megaconstellations, little has been focused on the ground infrastructure and sovereign landing rights that are needed to make these ventures a truly commercial success.