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Hughes Joins U.K. Investment in OneWeb 

By Rachel Jewett | July 27, 2020
Photo: OneWeb.

Photo: OneWeb

Hughes Network Systems is joining the U.K. Government and Bharti Enterprises in their acquisition of OneWeb. Hughes announced Monday that it will invest $50 million with the consortium, and continue as a technology and distribution partner for OneWeb. 

OneWeb filed for bankruptcy in March, and earlier this month, the U.K. government and Bharti announced that they would acquire the Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. 

[Read more: Hughes President Tells Via Satellite OneWeb Investment Will Increase Addressable Market]

Hughes President Pradman Kaul said the company looks forward to its part in developing OneWeb’s technology and bringing its services to market. 

 “This global consortium brings the right players together to fulfill the promise of the OneWeb constellation in deploying low-latency services for communities, enterprises, governments, airplanes and ships – complementing geostationary connectivity and ushering in the new era of multi-transport services that will serve growing bandwidth demand around the world,” he said. 

Hughes has been a longtime partner of OneWeb’s and Hughes was an investor through parent company EchoStar. In November 2017, Hughes signed a contract with OneWeb for $190 million to produce a ground network system supporting OneWeb’s constellation. This was built off of an original system development agreement between the companies signed in 2015. In March, soon before OneWeb filed for Chapter 11, the companies announced Hughes as a worldwide distribution partner for OneWeb.

Hughes has worked with the U.K. government through its Hughes Europe division, which is headquartered in London, and sister company EchoStar Mobile Limited. In addition, Hughes subsidiary in India, Hughes Communications India is in the process of combining its satellite broadband operations in India with telecom provider Bharti Airtel Limited. The merger, which was announced in 2019, is pending regulatory approval. 

“We are thrilled [Hughes] is joining the winning bid for OneWeb,” OneWeb tweeted Monday. “A longtime investor, technology partner, and distribution partner — we are happy they are continuing their support and look forward to continuing our work together.”