OneWeb has signed a new ground station agreement with the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and Northwestel in Canada.

SSC has signed a ten-year contract with the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite company to build and manage a new OneWeb Satellite Network Portal (SNP) in Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories.

– OneWeb

Construction of the SNP is underway in Yellowknife’s new Engle Business District and feature 27 antenna bases once completed by Q4 2023. SSC will oversee the project and provide ongoing maintenance and on-site support for ten years.

The new site will be on the traditional territory of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and the Det’on Cho Environmental will be providing local guidance on environmental assessments and permitting.

Local telco Northwestel’s northern fiber network will provide ground connectivity to support the SNP.

“SSC and OneWeb have developed a close relationship over the years. We have accompanied OneWeb throughout many milestones and decision points, based on our worldwide presence and long experience in the field of ground infrastructure and project management. For each one of OneWeb’s gateway construction projects, our highly experienced engineering team manages all the local sub-contractors and works tightly together with OneWeb to ensure we meet all customer requirements,” said Erwin Mercado, SSC Head of Americas.

SCC operates 10 ground station locations globally – including the Inuvik Station in Northern Canada – plus services from eight more in partnership. The Inuvik Satellite Station currently houses three SSC-owned antennas, one 7.3 and two 13-meter antennas, supporting multiple frequency bands including S-Band and X-Band.

OneWeb, which is undergoing a merger with Eutelsat, is developing more than 40 ground station sites to manage its 600-strong satellite fleet, with around 22 thought to be in development in 2020 at the time of its bankruptcy. By the end of 2022, the company said its ground network included coverage of the UK, Northern Europe, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, and Arctic seas.

The company is set to deploy a ground station off the coast of Africa on the island of St. Helena in partnership with local telco Sure. Earlier this year OneWeb inaugurated its new satellite network portal at Telespazio’s teleport in Maricá in Brazil. It is reportedly one of two gateways in Brazil and one of seven across Latin America.

Last year OneWeb signed a deal with Paratus to place a satellite gateway at Paratus’ teleport in Luanda, Angola. Vivacom is constructing a new satellite gateway for OneWeb in Bulgaria. In 2021 the satellite company announced plans to build a ground station in Kazakhstan.

Howard Stanley, VP Americas at OneWeb, added: “Canada is one of the first countries to have access to a LEO Network and is a top priority market for OneWeb. We are thrilled that through this partnership with SSC and Northwestel, we will be able to provide even the farthest reaches of the country with reliable, high-speed broadband connectivity.”

Northwestel is a subsidiary of Bell, providing service to the traditional territories of Indigenous peoples across Canada's North, serving communities across Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, British Columbia, and Alberta.

Paul Gillard, VP of business markets, Northwestel, said: “Our investments in a strong northern fiber network are attracting global investment in more projects North of 60, bringing real benefits to our communities. We are proud to be partnering on bringing next-generation technology to Northern markets.”

In other satellite news:

- Luxury voyages and expedition provider Seabourn has partnered with SpaceX’s Starlink. The company announced that its two purpose-built expedition ships, Seabourn Venture and Seabourn Pursuit, will be equipped with Starlink connectivity terminals.

The Seabourn Venture was set to be equipped with terminals in time for its May 2023 voyage, while an antenna will be installed on the upcoming Seabourn Pursuit after it launches in the summer.

"We are committed to providing the best ultra-luxury expedition experiences at sea, and the Starlink partnership will offer a significantly enhanced connectivity experience during our expedition journeys," said Natalya Leahy, president of Seabourn.

Starlink has signed distribution deals with maritime communications firms Marlink – which also has a deal in place with OneWeb – as well as Elcome International, Tototheo Maritime, and Anuvu.

The company has also signed deals with cruise liner providers Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation, Windstar Cruises, and Hurtigruten. Boutique cruise operator SeaDream Yacht Club’s two luxury yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II, have also deployed Starlink, as well as American Cruise Line’s 17 small ships and riverboats in the US.

Last month Columbia Shipmanagement, container ship giant Costamare, and tanker firm Enesel announced they were all trialing Starlink’s satellite connectivity offerings on a number of their ships.

- Speedcast is developing a new teleport in Saudi Arabia. Further details weren’t provided.

- OQ Technology, which is developing an LEO satellite fleet serving 5G to IoT devices, has signed its first commercial contract. The €1 million ($1.10m) deal is with an unnamed customer described as one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies.

The satellite firm has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with IoT Squared, an IoT joint venture between Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and telco STC Group, to provide connectivity services.

- The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded SSC a €2.26 million ($2.4m) contract to support the implementation, test, and demonstration of an optical network. The NODES project aims to develop a direct-to-Earth data reception service based on free-space optical communication.