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Russian government agencies this week denied permission to OneWeb to operate and provide internet services within Russia, even though Russia is launching a large bulk of OneWeb’s satellite constellation.
One agency denied them permission to use certain radio frequencies. Another has said no because it claims the satellites could be used for espionage. The first denial, in 2017, came from Roscosmos, which is also the agency launching OneWeb’s satellites.
The latest refusal of OneWeb was a sign that the country’s authorities remain keen to continue tightening their control of internet access, said Prof Christopher Newman at Northumbria University.
“[Satellite internet] presents an existential strategic threat to their trying to limit internet activity within their boundaries,” he told the BBC. “There are going to be large swathes of Russian territory… that are going to become very dependent on internet from space.”
Russia continues its sad slide back to Soviet-style authoritarianism and poverty.