By: Chandrashekar Bhat
BRITAIN’S satellite communications company OneWeb and Hughes Communications India Pvt Ltd (HCIPL) have come together to provide low orbit connectivity services across the south Asian country for six years.
However, the financial details of the satellite broadband distribution deal are not disclosed.
HCIPL is a joint venture between America’s Hughes Network Systems and Bharti Airtel in which the Indian company holds a 33 per cent stake.
Bharti group is also the largest single shareholder in the London-headquartered OneWeb, which plans to commence its global service by the end of 2022.
HCIPL is well-positioned to deliver services to enterprises and governments with OneWeb capacity, especially in areas outside the reach of fibre connectivity, the British company said in a statement.
“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,” it said.
According to OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson, his company’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”.
The company intends to invest in setting up infrastructure such as gateways in India “to light up the services.”
OneWeb’s most recent satellite launch on 27 December 2021 brought its total in-orbit satellites to 394, more than 60 per cent of the planned 648-strong fleet.
Its pact with Hughes comes after the Elon Musk-owned SpaceX incorporated its wholly-owned subsidiary in India to start local broadband operations through Starlink.