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OneWeb files for bankruptcy amid coronavirus chaos, leaving satellite network’s fate up in the air

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OneWeb files for bankruptcy amid coronavirus chaos, leaving satellite network’s fate up in the air

An artist’s conception reveals a OneWeb satellite tv for pc in house. (OneWeb Satellites Illustration)

OneWeb, the London-based enterprise that launched its newest batch of broadband web satellites final weekend, filed for Chapter 11 chapter safety in New York at this time.

“The firm intends to make use of these proceedings to pursue a sale of its enterprise to be able to maximize the worth of the corporate,” OneWeb stated in a information launch.

OneWeb has 74 satellites in low Earth orbit, and half of its 44 deliberate floor stations have been accomplished or are in growth. It was planning to start providing broadband web entry within the Arctic as quickly as this 12 months, and broaden its service to your entire globe with a whole lot of satellites over the following 12 months or so. All these plans at the moment are up within the air.

Speaking on situation of anonymity, a supply who’s accustomed to the state of affairs instructed GeekWire that OneWeb wasn’t capable of prepare additional monetary assist from Softbank Group, one in all its largest backers. The supply stated substantial numbers of staff had been laid off at this time, however didn’t present the numbers.

In its information launch, OneWeb confirmed that it was dealing with a monetary squeeze, primarily as a consequence of results of the worldwide coronavirus outbreak. “While the corporate was near acquiring financing, the method didn’t progress due to the monetary affect and market turbulence associated to the unfold of COVID-19,” it stated.

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The petition filed in Southern New York Bankruptcy Court lists the corporate’s 30 largest collectors. The prime creditor on the listing is Arianespace, with an unsecured declare of greater than $238 million. There’s additionally a Seattle-area firm among the many collectors: Woodinville, Wash.-based Redapt, which has a declare of $662,275.85.

OneWeb stated it’s asking the court docket for authorization to proceed operations throughout the Chapter 11 course of, utilizing its current money collateral. It additionally stated it’s in negotiations for “debtor-in-possession financing.” If the court docket approves such an association, OneWeb might fund extra monetary commitments because it goes via the sale course of. “Together, these actions will enable OneWeb to. meet post-petition obligations to its remaining staff and sure distributors within the abnormal course,” the corporate stated.

In a press release, OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel stated that at this time was “a troublesome day.”

“So many individuals have devoted a lot power, effort and keenness to this firm and our mission,” Steckel stated. “Our hope is that this course of will enable us to carve a path ahead that results in the completion of our mission, constructing on the years of effort and the billions of invested capital.”

OneWeb’s monetary setback boosts the standing of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation because the front-runner in a contest to beam extra ubiquitous broadband to underserved markets (and the U.S. army) from low Earth orbit.

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Starlink satellites are constructed at SpaceX’s services in Redmond, Wash., not removed from the place Amazon’s Project Kuiper is laying the groundwork for yet one more broadband satellite tv for pc constellation.

Read the petition filed in Southern New York Bankruptcy Court.

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