Intelsat entered into a commercial agreement with OneWeb, a venture that plans to build, deploy and operate a low earth orbit (Leo) Ku-band satellite constellation. Under the agreement, Intelsat will partner with OneWeb to use OneWeb’s Leo platform, once established, to complement its Geostationary orbit (Geo) satellite services, resulting in a global pole-to-pole high throughput satellite system.

Complementing their commercial agreement, Intelsat announced that it will make a minority share investment of USD 25 million in OneWeb. The companies will also collaborate to develop hybrid Leo/Geo end-user access terminals.

Pursuant to the commercial agreement with Intelsat, OneWeb will develop its platform to provide network interoperability with Intelsat’s global EpicNG Geo infrastructure and service offerings. This will enable OneWeb to coordinate the provision of services over the equatorial regions, where Geo services have spectral priority, overcoming a major operational hurdle to Leo platforms.

The agreement will also include a firm service commitment from Intelsat for OneWeb services upon commencement of operations, which is currently estimated for 2019. Intelsat’s service commitment is in exchange for exclusivity granted to Intelsat for distributing OneWeb’s services within the aeronautical and maritime sector verticals, and for certain U.S. government and oil and gas customer applications. The agreement also includes granting to Intelsat certain exclusive distribution rights for connected car and rail customer applications.

When fully deployed, OneWeb’s initial constellation of more than 600 Leo satellites will be the largest satellite constellation in orbit, providing approximately 10 Tbps of low-latency broadband to consumers around the globe.