BT and OneWeb agree terms for a new Distribution Partner Agreement.

OneWeb has agreed a new Distribution Partner Agreement to provide Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communication services across BT Group. The deal covers BT’s Enterprise, Consumer and Global units and follows on from the initial Memorandum of Understanding which was signed in July.

BT has already begun testing how LEO satellite technology integrates with its existing terrestrial capabilities and with existing services. Initial trials will focus on the technology’s role as a supplementary, low latency backhaul solution to sites where additional or back-up capacity is required. Once the initial tests are completed, the first live trials with customers will begin in early 2022.

The partnership with OneWeb supports BT’s networks ambitions, set out in July this year, to deliver digital solutions across the UK by 2028. By building a converged, software-defined network, BT will use both terrestrial and non-terrestrial technologies to deliver ubiquitous connectivity in the UK.

Commenting on the partnership, Philip Jansen, Chief Executive of BT Group, said: "Space is an emerging and enormous digital opportunity, and this is an important step towards harnessing its potential for BT’s customers across the globe. We will put OneWeb’s technology through its paces in our UK labs with the goal of delivering live trials in early 2022. Delivered securely and at scale, satellite solutions will be an important part of our plans to expand connectivity throughout the UK and globally, and to further diversify the range of services we can offer our customers."

As OneWeb’s satellite capacity grows, more use cases could also be enabled including the use of satellite for IoT backhaul and Fixed Wireless Access in rural areas.

OneWeb’s Chief Executive Officer Neil Masterson added: "BT has taken the lead in the recognition of LEO satellite’s advantage.  We are delighted as this agreement with BT Group represents an important strategic partnership for OneWeb as we continue to make progress towards our operational launch. We are excited to be playing such a key role in improving the resilience of the overall telecom infrastructure in the UK. OneWeb’s connectivity platform will help bridge the last digital divides across the country and enhance the nation’s digital infrastructure."

It is expected that OneWeb will deliver global coverage by June 2022 through 648 LEO satellites.