OneWeb Stands Up US Board As Communications Company Eyes American Business
Sue Gordon, a former top intelligence officer, has been named the panel’s chair.
Commercial satellite communications company OneWeb has stood up an American-based proxy board as the firm looks to expand its business to the U.S. military, intelligence community, and other federal agencies.
The London-based company has named Sue Gordon, a former No. 2 official at the office of the director of national intelligence, the chair of the three-person panel. Richard Spencer, a former Navy secretary, and Ryan McCarthy, a former Army secretary, have also been named to the board.
“We're excited about what commercial capabilities can afford in terms of resilience and effectiveness,” Gordon said in an interview. “But we also know that there are special needs of the national security community and being someone who can be that interlocutor to be able to understand those needs, and then work to have the capabilities continue to be developed is a good space for us.”
OneWeb is building a broadband satellite network that can quickly transfer data, particularly to remote locations around the world. The company’s satellites are able to connect to existing telecommunications companies who then distribute it to customers. Right now, the company has more than 400 satellites in orbit and is planning to add another 200 more.
“This is a societal good and advantageous to national security, as affected by the U.S. and its allies and partners,” Gordon said.
OneWeb is backed by the U.K. government and India’s Bharti Group. It builds satellites at sites around the world, including in Florida. It’s common for foreign-held companies to set up U.S. proxy boards so that they can compete for U.S. government contracts, particularly classified military and intelligence community ones. The U.S. board makes sure classified and sensitive U.S. government information is not shared with company leadership overseas.
OneWeb’s U.S. arm has been branded OneWeb Technologies. It was created after OneWeb acquired TrustComm last year.
Gordon sees opportunities beyond the military and IC too, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Coast Guard.
“Any place that needs to communicate quickly, securely, and globally, this is a pretty cool capability,” she said.
And the desire for more bandwidth, particularly within the government, is “infinite,” Gordon said.
“Because of its global presence and the architecture that works with existing telecommunications, it has some really nice global presence, when you want to do coalition activities,” she said.