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What are the Fundamental Differences between Eutelsat OneWeb and Starlink?

29/2/24 | 4 minute read

Eutelsat OneWeb and Starlink both provide global internet coverage and connectivity solutions in remote areas, or locations where more traditional telecommunications terminals have no infrastructure.

In this blog we will investigate the fundamental differences between the two LEO (Low Earth Orbit) services.

Ownership and Management

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Eutelsat OneWeb is operated as a commercial venture, with the British government holding a significant stake, this government support will undoubtedly provide stability, regulatory assistance and possible financial resources which could enhance the credibility and resilience of the network. Alternatively, Starlink is a private venture owned by SpaceX – which was founded by American Entrepreneur, Elon Musk. Both aim to provide global satellite internet coverage, particularly in areas where traditional internet infrastructure is lacking.

Global Connectivity

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Whilst both Eutelsat OneWeb and Starlink satellite networks will provide internet connectivity to remote global regions, aiming to bridge the digital divide and address communication challenges in areas with limited access to traditional internet infrastructure, as a government funded solution, Eutelsat OneWeb focuses on social responsibility, which resonates with individuals and organisations focussed on global development and equity. Such factors may not resonate with privately owned networks. However, both networks will benefit various sectors, including rural communities, maritime and aviation industries, emergency responders and users in developing countries.

Collaborative Approach

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Eutelsat OneWeb have actively pursued partnerships with telecommunications companies (AST being their first, and longest standing partnership) and governments worldwide, with the aim to leverage existing infrastructure and regulatory frameworks to facilitate deployment and operation. This approach is advantageous for navigating local regulations, addressing spectrum allocation issues, and integrating with terrestrial networks, which leads to potentially much smoother implementation in diverse geographical regions. As a primarily a private project, developed and manufactured by SpaceX, Starlink does however collaborate with various partners for aspects such as regulatory approvals, manufacturing, and ground station partnerships, which help to play a positive role in the development and deployment of their satellites.

Environmental Considerations

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As a private operator, the Starlink satellite constellation faces challenges on how it can reduce its impact on the environment. SpaceX have been working on developing reusable rocket technology, with the goal to reduce the environmental impact of its launches, as well as utilising SpaceX’s commitment to renewable energy and stability to help reduce their overall environmental footprint. Eutelsat OneWeb approached their environmental challenges by launching fewer satellites than Starlink, but at a higher orbit, which maximises their coverage capabilities whilst reducing the risk of space debris and mitigating concerns over orbital congestions and collisions.

Stability & Competition Dynamics

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With strong government backing and revised ownership structure, Eutelsat OneWeb could be perceived as having heightened stability and longevity compared to some of its competitors. That said, Starlink regularly updates and improves its software and firmware of user satellites and terminals, which can introduce new features, enhance performance and improve stability overtime. The diversity of having more than one satellite operator in the marketplace benefits businesses and consumers in terms of pricing, service quality and innovation, whilst also reducing the risk of monopolistic control over global internet access.


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The above observations and considerations suggest that whilst Eutelsat OneWeb and Starlink share the same goal of providing global internet coverage via satellite technology, the best solutions for individuals and organisations will vary depending on location, required coverage and business requirements. Experts like AST Networks are experienced to design and implement the right solution to meet specific needs – ensuring operational efficiency, costs and scalability are all considered. The market is evolving to offer connectivity solutions of the future that make previously isolated regions of our planet accessible, improving business operations, worker and crew welfare.

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