Pradman Kaul, president of Hughes Network Systems, said the company believes its investment in satellite company OneWeb has paved the way for Hughes to offer low-Earth orbit broadband connectivity to compete for the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, SpaceNews reported Wednesday.
The FCC will assess fiber, satellite internet and other broadband delivery technologies in October as it plans to issue approximately $20.4B in rural broadband subsidies through the RDOF program.
“Although GEO has the economic advantage over LEOs in the rural low-density markets, the RDOF market program could potentially subsidize a LEO service offering due to the latency rules,” Kaul said during an Aug. 6 earnings call. “Based on our recent announcement, we have the opportunity now to augment our GEO offerings with OneWeb capacity and have more favorable positioning for RDOF funding.”
Hughes announced in late July that it agreed to make an in-principle investment of $50M in a consortium with the U.K. government and Bharti Enterprises that will take over OneWeb, which had launched 74 satellites into low-Earth orbit for its satellite constellation.