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

Mon, 21st Sep 2020 14:58

LONDON, Sept 21 (Reuters) - OneWeb, the collapsed satellite
operator rescued by the British government and India's Bharti
Group, will resume launches with Arianespace in December,
putting it on track to begin commercial services next year, it
said on Monday.

The return-to-flight launch, the first of 16 under an
amended agreement with Arianespace, will increase OneWeb's
in-orbit fleet to 110 satellites, it said.

Commercial broadband and other communications services will
start by the end of 2021 under the plan, it said, initially in
Britain, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic
seas and Canada.

The agreement is subject to confirmation of the company's
restructuring plan, which saw Britain and Bharti emerge as the
wining bidders in a bankruptcy sale in July.

The two companies have pledged to invest a total of $1
billion in OneWeb, aiming to create a competitor to Elon Musk's
SpaceX in the race to use low earth orbit satellites to provide
communication services.

U.S. satellite broadband provider Hughes Network Systems
joined the OneWeb constellation later in July when it
agreed to invest $50 million.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Kate Holton)

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