Technology

BT exploring broadband via satellite for rural areas with OneWeb

Space tech company OneWeb develops satellites which can beam internet back down to Earth.

Government-backed satellite firm OneWeb has confirmed it is in early talks with BT about ways to help improve broadband in rural parts of the country.

The company – part owned by the UK Government and India’s Bharti Global – specialises in developing and sending satellites into low Earth orbit which can beam internet access across the globe.

Remote areas continue to be a challenge for traditional providers on the ground and can be costly.

A group of MPs recently warned that those living in cut off parts of the country could be left with slow broadband for years to come due to a “litany of planning and implementation failures” within Government.

OneWeb
The UK has a ‘significant equity stake’ in the OneWeb, as part of a consortium with India’s Bharti Global, after winning a bidding war in July (OneWeb/PA)

Meanwhile, regulator Ofcom believes that around 190,000 premises are unable to receive a decent broadband service.

BT declined to comment but satellite is understood to be one of the options it is exploring in order to improve connectivity for hard to reach properties.

UK-headquartered OneWeb was rescued last year in a deal which saw each party invest 500 million US dollars (£400 million).

The company formally emerged from bankruptcy in November.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at the time that the investment would “put the UK at the forefront of space tech”.

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Technology