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The five Cs of connectivity and how OneWeb delivers on them all

By Jason Sperry, Director, Business Aviation

The business aviation travel experience has never been one of seatback monitors. Rather, the passenger experience at 35,000 feet has always been about creating a bespoke ecosystem where the principal is squarely placed at the heart of every interaction. Key to delivering this truly personalised experience, are the Five-Cs of connectivity.

To date the current connectivity providers have been unable to globally, routinely, or reliably deliver on the five Cs, leading to frustrated operators, disgruntled passengers – or satcom-based AOG (aircraft on the ground) situations. 

The good news for OEMs, operators, and business jet principals is that OneWeb’s low Earth orbit constellation will deliver on the five Cs on a global scale and change the connectivity narrative from ‘can I?’ to ‘shall I?’  

So, what are the five Cs and how does OneWeb deliver on them?

Coverage – Traditionally keeping a business jet connected whenever and wherever it flies has been challenging. By their very nature business jets can pretty much fly anywhere accessing smaller and remote airfields – often travelling a route far away from the busiest commercial aviation corridors. OneWeb’s revolutionary and efficient constellation of 648 low Earth orbit satellites has been designed to deliver truly global coverage – over every continent and every ocean, as well as on polar routes.  
Capacity – Not only is our network truly global, but it also has a massive usable capacity of more than 1.1 terabytes per second; more than enough capacity to deliver what we call ‘connect-ability’ – a connected experience that is driven by the passengers’ imagination – not the available bandwidth. The connect-ability to stream live sports, follow markets, text and chat with colleagues and loved ones, email documents, all while taking a virtual video meeting, puts the business jet passenger at the very heart of the action – whether that’s on the sports field or in the board room. What’s more, as OneWeb continues to innovate, the capacity of our network will increase, driving a richer, more engaged and personalised experience. 
Connection – Global coverage and eyewatering capacity means nothing without the connection to the aircraft. The next-generation antenna that are being built by globally respected technology partners to connect to our satellites, are smarter, smaller, lighter – and with no moving parts – more reliable. And yes, despite what you might have heard, size does matter. Together, we’re developing antenna to connect even smaller business aircraft categories than ever before including mid-size and light jets, and large turboprops – bringing connectivity to a previously unserved – and underserved market. These antennas enable lightning-fast connections to the satellite and back, all in the blink of an eye.    
Consistency – So we have three of the C’s covered – global coverage, massive capacity and connection through next-generation antennas – but can we deliver this to operators and their passengers consistently?  The lack of a globally consistent satellite connectivity experience is one of the key flaws of the current solutions, and constant source of frustration to both operators and passengers, and constant source of frustration to both operators and passengers. At OneWeb, delivering a consistent experience is the cornerstone of our network – and our promise to our distribution partners and end-customers alike. Firstly, our extensive ground infrastructure of Satellite Networks Portals and Points of Presence means that we’re able to consistently deliver the capacity of the network-to-aircraft regardless of their location. Secondly, we backup our promise with comprehensive Service Level Agreements, ensuring not just high bandwidth, but also low latency. 
Cost – To date, equipping and connecting a business jet to in-flight Wi-Fi has been an expensive and largely unrewarding undertaking, especially when you also consider the need to upgrade the solution every few years. There is no point in OneWeb delivering on four of the five C’s to then offer a solution that is cost prohibitive. To the contrary, OneWeb and our Distribution Partners are rewriting* the rule book when it comes to the total cost of ownership of connectivity. The technological advancements, inherent in our next generation electronically steered array antenna, means the hardware costs are lower than the larger mechanical antenna of other constellations. These new, lighter, sleeker antennae are future-proofed and will continue to leverage the power of the OneWeb network as it continues to evolve and grow. Furthermore, as they have no-moving parts, these antenna are more reliable – reducing maintenance costs and aircraft downtime. 

Conclusion - What OneWeb delivers through the five Cs is an unrivalled and unprecedented global capability. A capability for business aviation guests to decide, in the moment, whether to work, rest or play – be productive, be entertained, be both. A capability for business aircraft operators to implement data-driven digitalisation strategies to fly more efficiently, while reducing the cost of ownership. A capability for aircraft OEMs to offer their customers a solution that is based on the possible rather than the promised.   

Through the lens of the five Cs, OneWeb’s low Earth orbit constellation, ground infrastructure and terminal solutions are clearly redefining inflight connectivity for the business aviation sector. OneWeb and our partners will offer a holistic, end-to-end connected ecosystem that will change the connectivity narrative forever, putting passengers at the heart of their connected journey, offering them the freedom of connection without hesitation, without worry. 

*OneWeb’s Distribution Partners are developing their own terminals and service structures.