British satellite firm OneWeb emerges from bankruptcy

The company could begin launches by next month.

By Reuters - November 24, 2020
A rendering of one of OneWeb’s F6 satellites. (OneWeb)

Satellite operator OneWeb said on Friday it has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with $1 billion (752.67 million pounds) in equity investment from a consortium of the U.K. Government and India’s Bharti Enterprises, the new owners of the U.K.-based company.

[OneWeb to resume launches in December, eyes commercial service in 2021]

The investment puts OneWeb on track to compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX in the race to use low-Earth orbit satellites to provide high-bandwidth and low-latency communication services.

OneWeb said it appointed Neil Masterson, former co-chief operating officer at Thomson Reuters, as its new chief executive officer, succeeding Adrian Steckel, who will continue as an adviser to the board.

[OneWeb bankruptcy leaves plans for Arctic satellite broadband In limbo]

OneWeb, founded in 2014 by entrepreneur Greg Wyler, filed for bankruptcy protection at the end of March after its biggest investor SoftBank Group Corp pulled funding.

The company also said it aims to resume satellite launches on Dec. 17 and is on track to begin commercial connectivity services to the U.K. and the Arctic in late 2021, and expand globally in 2022.

Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru.