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OneWeb, Hughes to bring low Earth orbit satellite service to India

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The low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company OneWeb on Thursday announced a six-year agreement with Hughes Network Systems to provide LEO connectivity services across India.

Hughes is an innovator in satellite and multi-transport technologies and networks and part of Hughes Communications India (HCIPL), a joint venture between Hughes and Bharti Airtel.

As part of the agreement, OneWeb will connect towns, villages, and local and regional municipalities in hardest-to-reach areas, playing a critical role in bridging the digital divide.

OneWeb will also invest in setting up enabling infrastructure such as Gateways and point of presence in India to light up the services, the company said in a statement.

“This announcement marks a turning point for Digital India. 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,” Partho Banerjee, president and managing director, HCIPL, said in the statement.

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Service offerings under this agreement are subject to all appropriate regulatory approvals and licenses, the companies said.

“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,” said Neil Masterson, CEO, OneWeb.

OneWeb’s most recent satellite launch on 27 December 2021 brought its total in-orbit satellites to 394, over 60 per cent 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.

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