Categories
GeekWire

Intelsat sues OneWeb broadband satellite venture

OneWeb satellite
An artist’s conception, released during the time when Intelsat was considering what would have been effectively a merger with OneWeb, shows a OneWeb satellite in orbit. (OneWeb Illustration)

One of the world’s biggest satellite operators, Intelsat, is accusing the OneWeb broadband satellite venture and its biggest investor, SoftBank, of breach of contract, fraud and conspiracy in a lawsuit seeking what could amount to tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

In the course of laying out its case, Intelsat told the New York State Supreme Court that it paid Redmond, Wash.-based Kymeta, a venture backed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, $10 million for development of a flat-panel antenna for OneWeb’s constellation.

Intelsat’s Sept. 10 filing also said OneWeb has pivoted from its original plan to provide broadband access to underserved regions of the world to concentrate on the very markets that Intelsat was planning to serve under the terms of the deal it struck in 2015 with OneWeb: maritime and aviation mobility services, oil and gas industry services and government services.

The lawsuit claims that OneWeb decided to “abandon its business plan of focusing on consumer broadband, land-based connectivity and underserved geographic markets because OneWeb and/or SoftBank concluded such plan would not yield sufficient revenues and was not viable in the long term.”

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

SoftBank and Loon team up in global internet race

Hawk30 high-altitude drone
An artist’s conception shows HAPSMobile’s Hawk30 aircraft in flight. (HAPSMobile / SoftBank Illustration)

HAPSMobile, a joint venture created by Japan’s SoftBank Corp. and California-based AeroVironment, is jumping into the race to provide global broadband access from above, alongside SpaceX, Amazon, OneWeb and Telesat.

Unlike those four companies, HAPSMobile plans to use high-flying, solar-powered planes rather than satellites to transmit signals wirelessly over a wide swath of the planet’s surface. In that respect, the concept has more in common with the aerial broadband concept that Facebook was pursuing until last year.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

SoftBank backs Intelsat-OneWeb merger

OneWeb satellite
An artist’s conception shows a OneWeb satellite in orbit. (OneWeb Illustration)

Intelsat and OneWeb today laid out plans for a mega-merger aimed at bolstering their satellite internet services, with a $1.7 billion investment boost from SoftBank.

The arrangement is a head-turner, due to the complicated conditions of the deal as well as its ambitious objective. It comes just a couple of months after Japan-based SoftBank announced a $1 billion investment in OneWeb, which is gearing up to launch a constellation of satellites for global internet access.

“We believe that combining Intelsat with OneWeb will create an industry leader unique in its ability to provide affordable broadband anywhere in the world,” Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler said in a news release.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

SoftBank boosts OneWeb satellite network

Image: Satellite web
An artist’s conception shows a constellation of satellites in orbit. (Credit: OneWeb)

The OneWeb internet satellite venture says it has secured another $1.2 billion in investment, including a billion dollars from SoftBank Group.

OneWeb said the new infusion of capital will support the construction of a high-volume satellite production facility in Exploration Park, Fla., capable of producing 15 satellites a week. Production is to begin in 2018, with an eye toward having OneWeb’s network operating by as early as 2019.

The operation is expected to create nearly 3,000 new jobs in the U.S. over the next four years, including jobs in engineering and manufacturing, OneWeb said.

SoftBank’s investment serves as an initial follow-through on a pledge made by the Japan-based conglomerate’s chairman and CEO, Masayoshi Son, to President-elect Donald Trump. During a meeting in New York this month, Son told Trump that he’d invest $50 billion in the U.S. to create 50,000 jobs.

Get the full story on GeekWire.