Low Earth Orbit (LEO) broadband satellite communications company OneWeb, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The AST Group (AST) to improve broadband communications at sea.
By working together, AST and OneWeb plan to offer fixed-land and maritime customers access to OneWeb’s fast and flexible connectivity solutions seamlessly in even the most remote locations on land and at sea. Customer beta trials will be undertaken with AST before the end of the year and will be focused on delivering fixed services to support remote connectivity in Northern Europe.
Once full commercial service is available in 2022, OneWeb seeks to provide AST’s customers, primarily in the commercial shipping, fishing and high-end offshore sectors, with access to viable, high speed, low latency connectivity as an alternative to the current VSAT internet solutions to truly enable digitalisation and deliver the long awaited leap in operational efficiencies.
This comes at a time when regulatory and commercial influences are driving demand for companies in maritime and offshore industries to decarbonise, improve broader sustainability and governance standards as well as improving business performance – all of which are underpinned by the need for more technology and data.
Commenting on the partnership, Carole Plessy, head of maritime at OneWeb, said, “OneWeb believes that connectivity at sea should be as seamless and simple as it is onshore to improve the overall efficiency, sustainability and profitability of the maritime and offshore industries. We’re proud to work with The AST Group, not just because of the strength of its market insight, reach and capabilities, but because of our shared belief that remote, faultless connectivity is essential to delivering operational excellence. By partnering with AST, we are another step closer to making LEO connectivity available to more marine and offshore customers, ending the legacy of complex, slow and costly VSAT systems.”
Gregory Darling, AST’s founder and Chairman said, “We’re delighted to strengthen our relationship with OneWeb by becoming its distribution partner so that we can offer customers a fibre-like alternative to current solutions. AST’s focus is solution based to ensure that customers improve their overall operational efficiency. OneWeb’s new satellite constellation and next generation connectivity aligned with AST’s INTEGRA network services will enable faster and better communications for the maritime industry. This new agreement marks further progress towards this transition.”