Vivacom, part of the United Group network, and OneWeb today announced the development of a dedicated Satellite Network Portal (SNP), or ground station, for OneWeb in Bulgaria. The facility will expand communications services and increase access for EU territories to OneWeb’s constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites. This will increase system resilience and improve broadband coverage for regions stretching from Central Europe to Central Asia, including the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
In recognition of the economic benefits of the project, which is being implemented on Vivacom’s premises in Stara Zagora, Vivacom has been awarded a Class B certificate by the local municipality. The partnership will create high-skilled jobs and increase economic output in the region for a minimum of 10 years and make Stara Zagora an important part of the infrastructure behind space technology and communications.
The SNP will contribute to closing the digital divide across many geographies, provide coverage for some of the world’s busiest air routes and shipping lanes and enable new applications based on OneWeb’s LEO satellite broadband.
“Our collaboration with OneWeb once again demonstrates that Vivacom is the preferred local partner for pioneering global technology companies looking to invest in Bulgaria. We are trusted not only for our technical expertise, capacity, and reliability but also for our innovative mindset and our cutting-edge work in the sector, which reflects the United Group’s vision for the region. We are thrilled that OneWeb has chosen Vivacom to implement this project, which will bring long-term socio-economic benefits to Bulgaria,” said Nikolai Andreev, CEO of Vivacom.
Vivacom will invest over BGN 1 million in the facility, while OneWeb has allocated several million US dollars for specialized equipment. The gateway will consist of 18 antennas and a mini data centre, linking OneWeb’s LEO satellites to Bulgaria’s fibre network and data centres. Construction has already begun and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023.
“For the Stara Zagora municipality, attracting high-value investment that creates new jobs is always welcome. I am happy that we are able to award a Class B certificate to Vivacom to help support this project. For the business, this means shorter terms and bespoke administrative services will be offered by the municipal administration. This is a great start to this successful partnership, and is a clear sign to investors that our city is open for business,” said Stara Zagora Mayor, Zhivko Todorov.
Michele Franci, Chief Operations Officer at OneWeb says: “OneWeb is improving the performance and resilience of satellite connectivity with our large fleet of distributed small satellites in low-Earth orbit. We are building a distributed architecture of SNPs, and moving our ground infrastructure to ensure we reach the remotest places on Earth. We have selected Bulgaria for this ground station because of its geography, its membership to the European Union and its role as a Eurasian telecommunications hub - but also because of Vivacom who is a trusted local partner who can help implement OneWeb’s mission.”