US satellite telecoms provider OneWeb has agreed to assist Angola in expanding internet access across remote rural areas by 2021, following a meeting with the country’s president Joao Lourenco, reports Agence Ecofin. The project aims to address the problem of high costs in extending terrestrial telecoms infrastructure across the national territory by using satellite as a more economical and rapid way of reaching the unserved population in the hinterland and remote corners of Angola. OneWeb – which currently operates six satellites – is already partnering Rwanda in a similar internet connectivity programme begun in February. OneWeb’s overarching global plan involves launching a constellation of 650 low-orbit satellites.
Separately, President Lourenco has signed a decree to permit the construction of the Angosat-3 satellite – expected to be focused on earth observation rather than telecoms – to follow the AngoSat-2 telecoms satellite scheduled for launch in 2021. Angosat-2 is a replacement for the ill-fated Angosat-1 which was lost shortly after its December 2018 launch due to technical problems.