• OneWeb signs partnership to boost Kazakhstan connectivity
  • Satellite firm strikes deal with AIFC
  • Aim is to bring satellite connectivity to central Asia

OneWeb satellites

OneWeb: Partnering with Astana International Financial Centre

OneWeb has signed a collaborative partnership with Astana International Financial Centre to accelerate broadband connectivity in Kazakhstan.

The global communications company, which says its mission is to connect everyone everywhere, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Central Asia’s largest financial hub the AIFC.

The MoU marks the start of a partnership which is focused on achieving two main goals in Kazakhstan and Central Asia - providing the first low-latency satellite broadband in Kazakhstan and establishing a technical hub in the country to support OneWeb’s communication service delivery across Central Asia.

OneWeb chief executive Adrian Steckel said: “I am very pleased that AIFC and OneWeb have become strategic partners and we see this as the foundation to build and evolve a wider partnership with Kazakhstan.

“The Government of Kazakhstan, like OneWeb, sees the importance of bridging the digital divide and enabling the digitisation of its economy using innovative and modern satellite technology.”

The MoU was signed by OneWeb’s Steckel and the Governor of AIFC Kairat Kelimbetov during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

AIFC governor Kairat Kelimbetov said: “I am pleased to sign the MoU with OneWeb and AIFC is looking forward to bringing innovative projects to Kazakhstan by offering the best environment for setting up business and helping drive inward investment.

“This is the first step of many that will help to develop our economy.”

According to a statement, the discussions in Davos revolved around how OneWeb will enhance the implementation of a key government program called ‘Digital Kazakhstan’ and other initiatives for greater collaboration between OneWeb and Kazakhstan.

Digital Kazakhstan aims to provide high-speed broadband across Kazakhstan by 2022, boosting the development of the country’s economy and improving the quality of life of Kazakhstani citizens by means of digital technologies.

As a part of this effort, Digital Kazakhstan seeks to expand the country’s telecommunication networks and prioritises providing broadband access by satellite in 6,600 rural and remote communities.

OneWeb plans to engage local telecom operators among its distribution partners to provide its ubiquitous, high-speed, low-latency “fibre-like” broadband connectivity across the private and public sector, including businesses, schools, hospitals and civil services in Kazakhstan.

A technical hub serving the greater Central Asia region will also be one of the projects under consideration, enabled by existing space communications infrastructure in Kazakhstan.

While OneWeb said it is considering setting up a joint venture in the jurisdiction of AIFC to operate this Central Asia technical hub.

OneWeb supports Kazakhstan’s ambition to digitise its economy and become a pioneer of new satellite communications technologies, further developing Kazakhstan’s reputation as an innovative country, especially in new space technology and adding momentum to its satellite communications sector.

At the end of February 2019, OneWeb successfully launched its first batch of Low Earth Orbiting satellites. The next launch is scheduled for early February 2020 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and this signals the beginning of regular launches of more than 30 satellites at a time to build OneWeb’s first phase constellation of 650 satellites, to be followed by further phases to deliver additional capacity and meet customer demand.