WASHINGTON — Eutelsat announced Oct. 6 that it is exercising an option in the latest OneWeb funding round, investing an additional $165 million into the broadband satellite company. 

Eutelsat says it will own nearly 23% of OneWeb, giving the Paris-based satellite operator the second largest stake behind Bharti Global’s 30% share once the transaction closes.

Eutelsat said the deal was made on the same terms as its $550 million investment in OneWeb announced in April that would have given it a 24% stake in OneWeb.

However, Bharti moved in June to exercise a call option to double its OneWeb investment to $1 billion, a move that was  expected to give the Indian conglomerate a 38.6% share of the company and reduce Eutelsat’s share to 19.3%. Then, in August, South Korea’s Hanwha paid $300 million for an 8.8% stake in OneWeb, reducing Bharti’s and Eutelsat’s stakes. 

Eutelsat, by exercising a call option on a portion of the latest funding round subscribed by Bharti, will effectively increase its stake from 17.6% to 22.9%.

In announcing the transaction, Eutelsat CEO Rodolphe Belmer noted the “significant progress [OneWeb] has made in the run-up to its now imminent entry into service.”

OneWeb launched 34 more satellites Sept. 14, enlarging its low Earth orbit constellation of broadband satellites to 332 of a planned 648-satellite constellation. Its next 36 satellites are slated to launch Oct. 14 aboard a Soyuz rocket lifting off from Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome.

OneWeb said last month it was on track to introduce commercial service in the upper reaches of the Northern Hemisphere by mid-December if not sooner. 

Brian Berger is editor in chief of SpaceNews.com and the SpaceNews magazine. He joined SpaceNews.com in 1998, spending his first decade with the publication covering NASA. His reporting on the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia accident was...