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Hughes wins $250m contract to build ground system for OneWeb

Neil Masterson OneWeb.jpg

Hughes Network Systems LLC has won a contract to develop and manufacture ground system technology for OneWeb's new LEO constellation.

The three-year contract, valued at US$250 million, will see Hughes produce gateway electronics for OneWeb's global broadband network as well as the core module that will be used in every user terminal.

Hughes president Pradman Kaul said: "Today's announcement of a continued technology partnership with OneWeb reflects our position as the trusted innovator in the industry.

"The ground system we develop will enable reliable, low latency broadband data, ideal for a wide range of customer applications."

The contract will kickstart what OneWeb's March restructure halted. Specifically, the two said the new agreement would see Hughes "ramp up production" on the gateway equipment and resume testing on the installed systems.

Each OneWeb gateway is capable of 10,000 hand-offs per second, orchestrating handover and tracking of hundreds of gigabits of data across hundreds of beams and millions of users.

Under an agreement with OneWeb – established prior to the firm's filing for Chapter 11 in March –  seven gateways had been installed and several more were in various stages of production. Under the new agreement, Hughes said it has "ramped up production on the gateway equipment and resumed testing on the installed systems".

OneWeb is now the under ownership of a consortium led by the UK Government and Bharti Enterprises, in which Hughes has agreed in principle to invest $50 million. OneWeb is now expected to be running global broadband services in the first half of 2022.

Neil Masterson (pictured), CEO of OneWeb, added: "OneWeb is building a global broadband network to deliver high-throughput, low latency enterprise grade connectivity services for a wide range of government, commercial, and mobility use cases. Our goal is to commercialise services in a year, and our partnership with Hughes will be vital in helping us launch a secure, trusted, resilient, space-based network."

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