OneWeb, the low Earth orbit satellite communications company, and Hughes Network Systems LLC (“Hughes”), an innovator in satellite and multi-transport technologies and networks for 50 years, have announced a strategic six-year Distribution Partner agreement to provide low Earth orbit (LEO) connectivity services across India. The arrangement 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 the companies in September 2021.
As the leading satellite broadband provider in India, HCIPL is well-positioned to deliver services to enterprises and governments with OneWeb capacity, especially in areas outside the reach of fiber connectivity. OneWeb will connect towns, villages, and local and regional municipalities in those hardest-to-reach areas, playing a critical role in bridging the digital divide.
Partho Banerjee, president, and managing director, HCIPL, said: “This announcement marks a turning point for Digital India. Enterprise and government customers, including telecom service providers, banks, factories, schools, defense organizations, 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.”
Neil Masterson, CEO, OneWeb, commented: “OneWeb is delighted to partner with Hughes to offer high-speed, low-latency satellite broadband solutions and contribute to the Digital India vision. 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.”
Today’s agreement expands upon an established relationship between the two companies. Hughes, through its parent company EchoStar, is a longstanding and supportive OneWeb shareholder. It is also an ecosystem partner to OneWeb, developing gateway electronics – including for those in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu – and the core module that will power every user terminal for the system. Hughes also is the prime contractor on an agreement with the U.S. Air Force Research Lab to integrate and demonstrate managed LEO SATCOM using OneWeb capacity in the Arctic region.
In each of its core markets, OneWeb works with carefully selected distribution partners providing new business and expansion opportunities whilst supporting its goal of bringing improved digital communication services to some of the hardest-to-reach parts of the world.
OneWeb’s most recent satellite launch on 27 December 2021 brought its total in-orbit satellites to 394, over 60 percent of the planned 648 LEO satellite fleet. It plans to commence global service by the end of 2022 as demand continues from telecommunications providers, aviation and maritime markets, ISPs, and governments worldwide for its low-latency, high-speed connectivity services.
Service offerings under this agreement are subject to all appropriate regulatory approvals and licenses.