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    OneWeb and Neom Tech to beam broadband to Middle East and East Africa


    Regional development is backed by both Saudi and UK governments

    Satellite broadband service OneWeb and Saudi Arabia’s Neom Tech and Digital Holding Company have committed to a £145 million (€172m) joint venture to bring broadband to countries across the Middle East and East Africa, reports Space in Africa. The countries covered by the satellite have a combined population of a billion people.

    With backers including the Bharti Group and the British government, OneWeb’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation will provide the link to Neom’s portfolio of ‘cognitive technologies’. 

    The partnership expects to complete ground infrastructure in 2022. Neom Tech and Digital Hold Co and the new joint venture entity will have exclusive rights to distribute OneWeb services in its target regions for seven years from the initiation of the LEO satellite network, which is expected to commence in 2023, its statement said.

    Knowledge transfer to developing nations

    The agreement includes a long-term commitment to the research and development of future connectivity systems. Neom Tech and Digital Holding Company is the first holding company to be established as a subsidiary of Neom, a regional development body in Saudi Arabia. OneWeb has an existing relationship with and development of future connectivity systems. It also builds on the relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), and the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA).

    The agreement is about speeding economic growth and the knowledge transfer to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said Minister of Investment Khalid Al Falih. The National Investment Strategy, recently launched by the Saudi Crown Prince, will support digital tech, communications and other ‘differentiated initiatives and projects’ said Al Falih.

    UK Investment Minister Gerry Grimstone said it was a coming together of two emerging space and digital technology champions to deliver connectivity for the Middle East. “It demonstrates that the UK Government’s investment in OneWeb continues to be a catalyst for international collaboration while securing jobs at home and driving investment into the UK space sector,” said Grimstone.

    Oracle first into hyper scale data centre

    This week the Neom Tech Group announced Oracle as its first tenant at its hyperscale data centre in the region of Neom. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) will be hosted at the data centre, providing cloud services.

    To meet business continuity and compliance requirements, Oracle’s unique dual-region cloud strategy enables customers to deploy resilient applications in multiple geographically separated locations within a country – without having sensitive data leave the country. The agreement follows the launch of the Oracle Cloud Saudi Arabia West Region in Jeddah in February 2020 and supports Oracle’s commitment to open two dedicated cloud regions in the Kingdom.