Graphic shows how the OneWeb global communications network will work.


U.S. court approves UK stake in OneWeb

By Ninian Carter

July 10, 2020 - A New York court ruling on July 10 approved an arrangement under which Britain will become an owner of loss-making satellite firm OneWeb, a company that wants to use satellites to connect customers in remote parts of the world to the internet.

The British government has bought a 45% stake in failed satellite broadband network OneWeb, costing $500 million.

The joint $1 billion venture with India’s Bharti Global, comes after Britain's exit from the European Union which will end access to its Galileo satellite navigation system, ironically a network the UK co-developed, costing the nation $1.6 billion – a sum it will not recoup.

OneWeb, headquartered in London, with parallel operations running from the U.S., ran out of money in March while constructing its low Earth orbit satellite broadband network.

The company was founded in 2012 to deliver affordable internet services to even the most remote regions on Earth using a constellation of small low Earth orbit satellites. To date the firm has launched 74 satellites of a planned network of 648.

In March, OneWeb asked the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve expanding its constellation of satellites to 48,000, despite filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The UK sees OneWeb as a means of rolling-out super-fast broadband across its territory, but also as potentially a way to deliver a new sat-nav service to replace Galileo which it will lose access to after the post-Brexit transition period ends on December 31, 2020.

The UK-India acquisition of OneWeb is subject to a ruling from the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York – due to be delivered on Friday, July 10.

PUBLISHED: 28/07/2020; STORY: Graphic News