Hughes, OneWeb sign US & India LEO deals

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Satellite and multi-transport technologies and networks specialist Hughes Network Systems and low Earth orbit satellite communications company OneWeb have signed a distribution agreement in the US focused on enterprise services.

In India, the parties have entered into an MOU for a strategic agreement to distribute services to large enterprises, small and medium businesses, government, telcos and ISPs, including in the rural and remote parts of the country. Services will be offered by Hughes Network Systems, LLC, and Hughes Communications India Private Ltd., respectively.

Hughes and OneWeb intend to work together to broaden distribution globally, with Hughes to offer OneWeb’s low-latency, high-speed connectivity for markets such as enterprise, government, commercial aviation and maritime, cellular backhaul, and community Wi-Fi hotspots.

“The future of connectivity depends on a worldwide network of multiple transports, including terrestrial, geostationary and Low Earth Orbit satellite services,” stated Pradman Kaul, President, Hughes. “OneWeb’s system enhances the Hughes portfolio of networking capabilities, introducing a low-latency option with global reach that complements GEO satellite capacity density and capability to meet our customers’ needs. As a case in point, in India which has been starved of high-throughput satellite services, the OneWeb services will help us meet the tremendous backhaul and broadband demand.”

“OneWeb is thrilled to be working with Hughes to offer our connectivity solution across the US and India,” added Neil Masterson, Chief Executive Officer, OneWeb. “This agreement is another example of our commitment to deliver high-quality, continuous internet access to areas in need including in rural and remote areas of the US and India. Hughes is already an important investor and an invaluable technology partner, and I look forward to continuing to grow our relationship further.”

At a jointly-hosted session at Satellite 2021 at National Harbor, Maryland, representatives of the companies signed the new agreements, addressed their ongoing partnership, and shared a demonstration of multi-orbit connectivity in action.

The test, recorded on August 26th, featured the successful real-time, seamless switching between the Hughes JUPITER 2 geostationary, high-throughput satellite (HTS) and OneWeb’s low latency, high speed LEO constellation. The demonstration highlighted advantages of each type of connectivity as Hughes ActiveTechnologies software instantaneously evaluated the type of traffic and transmitted it over the most efficient path: latency-sensitive activities (such as fast-twitch video gaming and a video call) were transmitted via OneWeb; bandwidth-intensive activities such as video streaming were transmitted via JUPITER HTS.

The agreement expands an established relationship between the two companies. Hughes, through its parent company EchoStar, is an investor in OneWeb. It is also an ecosystem partner to OneWeb, developing gateway electronics and the core module that will power every user terminal for the system. And Hughes is the 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 works with carefully selected distribution partners in each of its core markets, providing new business and expansion opportunities through the low latency, global, high throughput attributes of OneWeb’s network.

OneWeb is building its initial constellation of 648 LEO satellites. Services will begin later in 2021 to the Arctic region including Alaska, Canada, and the UK. By late 2022, OneWeb will be offering its high-speed, low latency connectivity services globally. Service testing on the satellites already in orbit is underway, using gateways that Hughes is building for the network. Results are positive, including seamless satellite and beam handovers, high speeds and low latency.

To help meet demand for broadband, Hughes is developing its next generation JUPITER 3 Ultra-High Density Satellite, expected to launch in the second half of 2022.


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