Special services of the Russian Federation may prohibit satellite Internet, but to pay for it will have technological sovereignty.

The head of “Roskosmos” Dmitry Rogozin believes that Russia needs to participate in the project global OneWeb satellite Internet, despite the resistance of the FSB. He stated this in an interview with RBC. He noted that he understands the skepticism of colleagues from the Federal security service (FSB), “but we must bear in mind that this orbital group and our partners will still be created, whether we like it or not,” writes “Forbes”.

In October 2018, the FSB has spoken out against the deployment of satellite communication systems, OneWeb, because it potentially threatens the national security of Russia and can be used for intelligence purposes.

The project of distribution of high-speed Internet provided for the creation of low-orbit group of satellites 2000-4000 . The project was supported by Richard Branson and Qualcomm, as well as Airbus Group, Bharti, Coca-Cola, Hughes, Virgin Group. Japanese Fund SoftBank has invested more than $1 billion If Russia refuses to participate in the project, its ground infrastructure can be deployed on the territory of other countries, including, according to Rogozin, on the territory of Ukraine. At the same time Russia will not be able to control his work on his site.

In 2017, specifically to work on the establishment of a network of OneWeb partner “Roscosmos” has created the company “Banweb”. The company had to obtain permission for the use of certain radio frequencies from the State Commission for radio frequencies. According to “Vedomosti”, this question was raised several times at meetings of the state Commission, but the company frequency and have not received.

OneWeb could in principle do without Russia? Theoretically, Yes, in this case Russia will suffer from it stronger. “If Russia will come out OneWeb, the coverage of its territory will be carried out from the outside — from Kazakhstan, Norway and Italy (instead of using five stations of conjugation in the Central, Siberian and far Eastern Federal districts), and the Russian intelligence services have to interfere and apply the EW (electronic warfare) jamming signal,” says managing partner and founder of the Russian hosting provider RUVDS Nikita Tsaplin.

Moreover, for OneWeb Russia, apparently, is not a very significant market given the population density, says the founder of private space company “Galaxy” Aliya Prokofiev. However, OneWeb yet retains the intention to negotiate with the Russian authorities and agree to reduce their share in the joint venture in the checklist below. Russian partner placed on the portal of public procurement tender to find a contractor able to assess the acquired share in the project.


OneWeb can really be used for surveillance? In the world of spy games, there are many other channels for surveillance, and the lack of OneWeb in Russia, this will not solve the problem. Moreover, the lack of opportunities for Russia to influence the company from within may result in even greater problems.

If the State Commission does not allocate radio frequency, and the gateway station will not be built, OneWeb in Russia will not appear. “On the other hand, is much easier to build them and to control traffic at stations mates — Tsaplin considers. — It is unlikely that USA or someone else will build OneWeb specifically for surveillance. Because traffic control will be implemented at the stations mate, and nothing prevents the Russian side on each of them to deploy DPI-protection in the form of a mini-Chinese firewall”.

A more serious risk lies in the fact that the arrival of 5G connection from Oneweb inflict another serious blow to Russian mobile operators, which are already suffering from the law of Spring. According to this law, they have to store huge amounts of data about their users and to build or rent data centers for this. “Losing control over this strategic sector, Russia risks losing part of the sovereignty, — says the founder RUVDS. On the other hand, don’t let modern communications technology is also a loss from the point of view of the digital economy and other programs.” In the end this strategy Russia, trapped on their technologies and operators, will just be behind the progress.

The optimal solution in this case — obtaining control in a large company (not a subsidiary) and the sole control stations mates in Russia, for which Russia’s Roscosmos have to fight. For this he has contracts for the delivery system Oneweb satellites of the Russian “Soyuz-2” and “proton”. Oneweb will potentially need 21 “Union” and 13 “Proton”, says Nikita Tsaplin, as the “Union” is the most economically feasible means of delivering satellites into orbit.