OneWeb scaled back its satellite constellation plans this week. The company reduced its ask of the US FCC to just 6,372 additional satellites, down from 47,884. The company also announced additional investments from SoftBank and Hughes, a move that “positions the Company to be fully funded for its first-generation satellite fleet, totaling 648 satellites, by the end of 2022.”
OneWeb’s mission is to connect everyone, everywhere. We have made rapid progress to re-start the business since emerging from Chapter 11 in November. We welcome the investments by SoftBank and Hughes as further proof of progress towards delivering our goal.– Neil Masterson, CEO of OneWeb
The investment from Hughes and SoftBank represent approximately $400 million in additional capital, bringing the total equity raise to $1.4 billion since emerging from bankruptcy protection in late 2020. The initial billion in funds came from the UK government and Indian telecom giant Bharti Global.
As part of its new $350 million investment in the company SoftBank gains a seat on the Board of Directors. SoftBank previously pushed $2 billion into OneWeb, but that was prior to the bankruptcy reorganization in 2020.
Hughes does not get a seat on the board, but its $50 million stake helps ensure that OneWeb’s development continues, including the build out of the ground infrastructure being provided by Hughes and its parent company EchoStar.
The investments made today by Hughes and SoftBank will help realize the full potential of OneWeb in connecting enterprise, government and mobility customers, especially with multi-transport services that complement our own geostationary offerings in meeting and accelerating demand for broadband around the world.– Pradman Kaul, President of Hughes
Since emerging from bankruptcy protection in November OneWeb has quickly resumed production of its satellites. The factory in Florida, a joint venture with Airbus, is once again producing the hardware and the company successfully launched 36 into orbit on 18 December 2020.
The in-orbit constellation now numbers 110 active satellites. The latest launch positions the company to deliver commercial services to customers in the United Kingdom, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Artic Seas, and Canada in 2021. True global coverage should follow in 2022.
Launching OneWeb IFC
With the global footprint active OneWeb will be able to deliver on its goal of adding in-flight connectivity to its portfolio of services. In September 2019 VP Commercial Aviation described the company’s goal “to change the view on what inflight connectivity can be.” That remains a very real goal for the company. Those efforts were delayed by the bankruptcy, but in some ways that could prove helpful.
Getting the service on to aircraft will require significant leaps forward in antenna and terminal development. Most notable is a need for fully electronic phased array antenna systems that can instantly switch between the fast-moving LEO satellites. Companies continue to progress on that front, but none have delivered a system ready to fly. Yet.
And now there’s a little more breathing room on the timeline to align the terminal and antenna development with the constellation deployment.
More OneWeb coverage
- Seamless Air Alliance hopes to deliver frictionless inflight connectivity
- PaxEx Update: 19 July 2019
- OneWeb launches high-speed satellite production facility
- OneWeb plans faster inflight connectivity network
- OneWeb, Iridium look to partner on LEO-based solutions
- Slot jockeying and Wifi Deals: PaxEx Update for 2019-09-20
- OneWeb secures funding from Bharti, UK Gov’t
- Accessible Lavs and more wifi flying: The Weekly Wrap–10 July 2020
- Global Eagle refocuses on long-term outlook
- Gogo confirms "extensive" discussions to sell commercial airline inflight connectivity business
- OneWeb emerges from bankruptcy, ready to launch
- OneWeb shrinks constellation plans, expands funding
- De-risking IFC with OneWeb’s new JetTalk terminal
- Eutelsat makes major LEO commitment with OneWeb investment
- Viasat closes on KA-SAT buy-out
- OneWeb buys TrustComm, access to the US government market
- The low-down on LEO IFC options
- OneWeb now fully funded with additional $500 million from Bharti
- OneWeb secures antenna, investment with Hanwha Systems
- Eutelsat boosts OneWeb stake
- Gogo sees LEO as part of its future
- Making the Business (Aviation) case for LEO at Gogo
- OneWeb, GDC Technics partner on new ESA solution
- OneWeb signs Airbus for military, government services contract
- OneWeb secures launch plan with SpaceX, capacity deal with Speedcast
- Hughes shows off flat panel antenna for OneWeb service
- Two more ESAs prepare for flight
- Gogo, OneWeb team for BizAv satellite service
- OneWeb, Satcom Direct, QEST team for BizAv internet offering
- Stellar Blu successfully demonstrates in-flight LEO connectivity
- Revising the launch timeline
- OneWeb confirms launch schedule into 2023
- OneWeb, Stellar Blu confirm successful LEO in-flight connectivity tests on 777
- Gogo grabs Hughes ESA exclusivity for BizAv OneWeb service
- In-flight connectivity’s next major hurdle: Smaller planes
- Eutelsat, OneWeb to merge in LEO/GEO push
- Gogo sees 5G chip issues delaying deployment
- Intelsat goes multi-orbit with OneWeb LEO option for airlines
- SatixFy’s Onyx Aero terminal seeks middle ground is ESA market
- What’s under that radome?
- Gogo completes 5G tower deployment
- Panasonic Avionics, OneWeb team for inflight internet service
- OneWeb successfully orbits 36 more satellites
- Anuvu boosts Ka-band connectivity with dual panel antenna
- Panasonic Avionics highlights Stellar Blu antenna for OneWeb LEO service
- Stellar Blu, Satcom Direct partner for BizAv LEO services
- Sorting suppliers for United’s mega Dreamliner order
- Delta makes it official: Inflight WiFi will be free
- Another Stellar IFC experience flying
- Gogo signs Jet It for AVANCE L3 deployment
- Does ATG have a future in commercial aviation?
- Alaska Airlines picks Intelsat for E175 streaming WiFi upgrade
- Market optimism, antenna debates as the first regional jets get a Wi-Fi upgrade
- Intelsat successfully tests Stellar Blu ESA in LEO/GEO service
- Viasat, Inmarsat receive provisional merger approval from UK
- Intelsat adds more LEO/GEO capacity with Eutelsat/OneWeb deal
- Viasat confirms Delta fleet growth
- ThinKom sees ESA integration as a Plus for connectivity hardware
- Hanwha sets stage for aero ESA trials later this year
- Gogo Galileo branding launched for LEO services
- Gogo picks Challenger 300 for Galileo certification pilot
- Stellar Blu secures Boeing line-fit agreement
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