AIFC, OneWeb to bring next generation satellite technology to Kazakhstan

NUR-SULTAN – The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) has announced plans to cooperate with London-based global communications company OneWeb to accelerate broadband connectivity in Kazakhstan, reported the AIFC press service Jan. 27.

The agreement, signed by AIFC Governor Kairat Kelimbetov and OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, aims to enhance implementing the Digital Kazakhstan programme and other initiatives.

“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,” said Steckel.

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

“I am pleased to sign the memorandum of understating 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,” said Kelimbetov.

The partnership seeks to provide the country’s first low-latency satellite broadband and establish a technical hub to support OneWeb’s communication service delivery across Central Asia. The Kazakh hub will be one of the projects under consideration enabled by the existing space communications infrastructure. OneWeb is considering setting up a joint venture within AIFC’s jurisdiction.

The company is committed to supporting Kazakhstan’s ambition to digitise its economy to become a pioneer of new satellite communications technologies and developing its reputation as an innovative country, especially in new space technology and its satellite communications sector.

OneWeb launched its first batch of low earth orbiting satellites in February 2019. The next launch is scheduled for early February from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome. More than 30 satellites will be launched at a time to build the company’s first phase constellation of 650 satellites, followed by further phases to deliver additional capacity and meet customer demand through a network of global gateway stations and range of user terminals.

The Kazakh government intends to provide high-speed broadband across the country by 2022 as part of Digital Kazakhstan. It is planning to expand telecommunication networks and provide satellite broadband access to 6,600 rural areas.