Greg Wyler is the founder and executive chairman of OneWeb, and he’s been working to deploy telecommunications to remote areas for the better part of two decades. According to a number of media profiles on Wyler, he began toying with internet from satellites in the early 2000s as part of his efforts to deploy telecommunications in rural parts of Africa.
Indeed, Wyler has already already shown a significant amount of progress toward his goal: O3b Networks, the company he founded in 2007, today has deployed 12 satellites that have “attained individual link speeds in excess of 1gbps with only 130ms of latency,” according to his biography from OneWeb.
But it’s really OneWeb, which Wyler founded in 2012, that brings him to the attention of the wireless industry. OneWeb boasts almost $2 billion in funding from the likes of Qualcomm, Bharti, Coca-Cola, Hughes, Virgin Group and Japan’s SoftBank. The company hopes to eventually offer services in the 12 GHz to 18 GHz band to up to 1 billion subscribers worldwide via roughly 600 low-Earth satellites beaming download speeds of up to 200 Mbps, upload speeds of up to 50 Mbps and lower latency than existing services.
By all accounts, Wyler is a driven, innovative, commanding entrepreneur along the lines of Elon Musk, so the progress of OneWeb, his latest gambit to deliver superfast satellite internet, should be worth watching. After all, OneWeb recently said that, in less than one year, it anticipates its first satellites will be in orbit and operational. And that, starting in 2019, it will enable high-speed access for all of Alaska where homes, tribal health centers and tens of thousands of residents are without adequate broadband access.
Within its first two years of service, OneWeb plans to make significant progress toward closing the digital divide in the U.S.