Last week, satellite internet company OneWeb filed for bankruptcy, citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as it struggled to secure additional funding.
In a statement announcing the decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company said it “intends to use these proceedings to pursue a sale of its business in order to maximize the value of the company.”
The company started with the goal of providing widespread internet access via an array of low-Earth-orbit satellites. So far, 74 satellites have been launched and half of its planned 44 ground stations have either been completed or are in development.
For much of this year, OneWeb had been negotiating further funding, including discussions with SoftBank Group, according to GeekWire. However, the company’s statement makes clear those efforts were unsuccessful.
“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,” the company said in its press release.
OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel confirmed in the statement the decision will lead to layoffs, and it’s currently unclear what will happen with the satellites the company has already launched.
“It is with a very heavy heart that we have been forced to reduce our workforce and enter the Chapter 11 process while the company’s remaining employees are focused on responsibly managing our nascent constellation and working with the court and investors,” Steckel said.
With one company out of the game, the low orbit satellite competition will now be even more focused on SpaceX and Amazon, both of which could potentially buy out OneWeb. Facebook is also reportedly a potential buyer, according to ARS Technica.
We’ll continue following this story and keep our readers up-to-date.
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