OneWeb asks FCC to authorise 48,000 satellites

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OneWeb, despite being on the sales forecourt as far as its assets are concerned while it is Chapter 11 bankruptcy, is asking the FCC to approve expanding its constellation of satellites to 48,000.

OneWeb adds that its bankruptcy was not helped by the impact of the Coronavirus and was forced to file for Chapter 11. “The company continues the [bankruptcy] restructuring and sale process and has received considerable interest from parties worldwide,” it said in a statement.

OneWeb has asked the FCC to approve a modification to its existing license and to increase the constellation to 48,000 and thus “allow for greater flexibility to meet soaring global connectivity demands”.

The company currently has 74 satellites in orbit and launched the latest batch of 34 craft just a few days before going into bankruptcy protection.

OneWeb says the global restrictions imposed as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic have underscored the criticality of seamless broadband connectivity for economies, businesses, communities and individuals alike. Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellations can reach the most remote and rural areas as well as strategically important locations like the Arctic to provide government, safety and other needs requiring resilient, high-speed, low latency communications.

This latest OneWeb modification application, triggered in part by the FCC’s announcement of a Second Processing Round for Ku/Ka-band systems, seeks to update OneWeb’s existing US authorisation to match the latest system specifications, while also requesting an increase in satellites for the constellation.

Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb said: “We have always believed that LEO satellites must be part of converged broadband network strategies to enable forward-thinking governments and businesses to deliver much-needed reliable connectivity, create more pathways to 5G and connect to the IoT future everywhere on earth. This significant increase in the size of the OneWeb constellation enables long-term flexibility and ensures we will be ready for the demand, future growth, and technology changes to come.”


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