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OneWeb files for bankruptcy

2020-03-30 18:05 by
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Telecommunications firm OneWeb has filed for bankruptcy, leaving the status of its orbital internet constellation, which currently consists of 74 satellites, in doubt. The company is seeking Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, which it is doing to facilitate a sale of the business.

The debt-stricken company said it failed to secure required funding on account of the covid-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of the year, OneWeb had been engaged in "advanced negotiations regarding investment that would fully fund the company through its deployment and commercial launch," the company stated in a press release. While the company was close to obtaining financing, "the process did not progress because of the financial impact and market turbulence related to the spread of COVID-19."

"Our current situation is a consequence of the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis," OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel said in the bankruptcy announcement. "We remain convinced of the social and economic value of our mission to connect everyone everywhere."

Founded in 2012 by tech entrepreneur Greg Wyler, OneWeb was one of a handful of companies including SpaceX and Amazon that are racing to build giant constellations of high-speed internet satellites. OneWeb planned to operate a fleet of at least 650 satellites to blanket the entire Earth with broadband service and had raised nearly $3.5 billion from large investors like the Virgin Group, Qualcomm, and Airbus.

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