5-speed listening (Worldwide Internet - Level 6)

Satellites launched to provide worldwide Internet



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A satellite start-up company has successfully launched its first satellites in a project aimed at delivering "affordable" Internet access to every corner of the globe. The London-based company is called OneWeb. Its first six satellites were put into orbit on Wednesday in a launch from French Guiana. A Russian Soyuz rocket transported the pioneering spacecraft. OneWeb said it eventually wants to have around 900 spacecraft in an extensive network in space. Only 648 satellites are needed to provide global Internet coverage. OneWeb will start sending more Internet satellites into space towards the end of this year. The company intends to launch several rockets every month, each carrying 39 satellites.

OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel was ecstatic about the launch of the multi-billion-dollar project. He said it would greatly transform the lives of millions of people. He told reporters: "We're going to connect lots of people who are not currently connected. We're going to start by focusing on connecting schools, connecting boats, connecting planes, and connecting huge swathes of the planet." Not everyone is happy at the prospect of a global Internet network. Reports are that China is testing jammers to block the network. North Korea might also fear the network could damage its national security. Russia has voiced concerns that OneWeb's network could be used to gather intelligence.

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