Broadband constellation satellite controller OneWeb will file for chapter protection in the U.S. around Friday, after attempts to secure new funding, including one from existing investor SoftBank, fell through. Another report also talked about the failure of its funding attempt on Friday, based on its own separate sources. The company might be laying off most of its employees, with a group remaining in place to proceed with operating its existing satellites in space, in keeping with our sources.
OneWeb, started in 2012 as WorldVu Satellites, had been seeking to construct a constellation of broadband internet satellites that might operate in low Earth orbit, offering low-cost connections to clients on the ground with coverage that extends into more distant and hard-to-reach locations that aren’t addressed by current ground-based networks.
Earlier this month, OneWeb had been considering a chapter protection filing, while weighing other choices. One of those alternatives was a new funding round focusing on a raise of nearly $2 billion. The corporation had previously raised $3 billion over multiple rounds, along with a $1.3 billion and $1.2 billion round in last year and 2016 respectively, each of which had SoftBank as the principal investor.
OneWeb further completed a launch earlier in March, bringing the total number of its satellites in orbit to 74. The company then cut its headcount by up to 10% through layoffs reported last week.