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OneWeb and Hughes partner on LEO satellites in India

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OneWeb and Hughes Network Systems (Hughes) have formed a strategic six-year distribution partner agreement to provide low Earth orbit (LEO) connectivity services across India.

The collaboration between OneWeb and Hughes Communications India Private Ltd (HCIPL), a joint venture between Hughes and Bharti Airtel Limited (Airtel), follows the memorandum of understanding signed by both companies in September 2021.

HCIPL is a leading satellite broadband provider in India and therefore well-positioned to deliver services leveraging OneWeb capacity, particularly to underserved areas with little access to fibre connectivity, helping to bridge the digital divide.

Services under this agreement are subject to regulatory approvals and licenses.

“This announcement marks a turning point for Digital India," Partho Banerjee, president and managing director at HCIPL.

"Enterprise and government customers, including telecom service providers, banks, factories, schools, defense organisations, domestic airlines, and offshore vessel operators, are eagerly anticipating the arrival of new high performing satcom services. We look forward to bringing them high-speed, low-latency services from HCIPL using OneWeb capacity—and catapulting India to the cutting edge of connectivity.”

Hughes' parent company EchoStar, is a longstanding OneWeb shareholder as well as an ecosystem partner to OneWeb, developing gateway electronics – including for those in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu – and the core module that will power the user terminals for the system.

In addition, Hughes will also serve as prime contractor on an agreement with the US Air Force Research Lab to integrate and demonstrate managed LEO SATCOM using OneWeb capacity in the Arctic region.

“OneWeb is delighted to partner with Hughes to offer high-speed, low-latency satellite broadband solutions and contribute to the Digital India vision," said Neil Masterson, CEO at OneWeb.

"OneWeb’s constellation will cover the length and breadth of India, from Ladakh to Kanyakumari and from Gujarat to the Northeast and bring secure solutions to enterprises, governments, telcos, airline companies and maritime customers. OneWeb will invest in setting up enabling infrastructure such as Gateways and PoPs in India to light up the services.”

By the end of 2021, OneWeb brought its total in-orbit satellites to 394, over 60% of the planned 648 LEO satellite fleet. The company plans to begin global service by the end of 2022.

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