OneWeb Strikes Deal for Launch in India

OneWeb logo
(Image credit: OneWeb)

OneWeb, which is launching a global low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellite-delivered broadband service, said it has struck a long-term deal to deliver service to India, contingent on securing the "appropriate" licenses and regulatory approvals.

The company said Thursday it has a six-year agreement with Hughes (EchoStar), a OneWeb investor through the latter's Hughes Communications India Private Ltd. (HCIPL), a joint venture between Hughes and Bharti Airtel Limited, which already delivers satellite broadband to the company.

OneWeb has yet to launch its service, but said it now has almost 400 LEOs deployed of a planned 648 and said it plans to begging that service by the end of the year.

Also: OneWeb Beefs Up Broadband Delivery

OneWeb is among a number of such LEO-based satellite broadband efforts the FCC has given its regulatory approval as a way to promote broadband price and service competition, advance IoT and 5G for all, and help close the digital divide in this country.

OneWeb's stated goal is to get broadband to some of the hardest-to-reach areas of the world.

In June 2017, the FCC unanimously approved OneWeb's request to deliver its service in the U.S. market, including particularly hard-to-reach and expensive-to-reach rural areas.

Pai's successor, chairperson Jessica Rosenworcel, also supports LEOs as a way to provide broadband competition.

OneWeb filed for bankruptcy in 2020, suggesting it was on the verge of getting financing when the pandemic hit. It had already invested billions of dollars in the enterprise.

It was able to get new funding from, among others, the British government, and emerged from bankruptcy late last year. It secured over $1 billion in launch insurance back in September 2021. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.