BT Group agreed a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communication service deal with OneWeb, advancing a strategy to deliver digital services across the UK by 2028.

In a statement, BT explained it aims to begin customer trials in early 2022 after completing integration between the satellites and its terrestrial networks.

Testing will focus on OneWeb’s ability to deliver a “supplementary, low-latency backhaul solution to sites where additional capacity or a back-up solution is required” and “improved resilience” for business customers.

BT and OneWeb signed an MoU in July.

The operator stated it may also explore using satellite for IoT backhaul and fixed wireless access services.

BT CEO Philip Jansen described space as “an emerging and enormous digital opportunity”, adding satellite services will form an important part of the operator’s plans to expand connectivity and diversify the range of its services.

OneWeb chief Neil Masterson argued it plays a “key role improving the resilience” of UK telecoms infrastructure, citing potential to close digital divides.

The satellite company is expected to deliver global coverage by mid-2022 through 648 LEO satellites, and last month scored a deal with the Indian Space Research Organisation to accelerate its goal.