Bengaluru, NFAPost: Sunil Bharti Mittal run Bharti Global – an overseas arm of Bharti and the UK Government took over the ownership of the broadband satellite communications company – OneWeb which is all set to recommence satellite launches after emerging from bankruptcy.
Oneweb, the Low Earth Orbit(LEO)broadband satellite communications firm announced the new management for the company where The billionaire and czar of telecom Sunil Mittal will be the Executive Chairman. Bharti Global operates out of London and has investments in telecom, technology, hospitality, transportation and energy.
According to a statement launches will continue throughout 2021 and 2022 and Oneweb is on track to begin commercial connectivity services. Mittal said that by October next year, OneWeb will have 290-300 satellites available.
OneWeb also announced the second half of December 2020 for its ‘Return-to-Flight’, with a 36-satellite payload scheduled for launch by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.
Launches will continue throughout 2021 and 2022 and OneWeb is on track to begin commercial connectivity services to the UK and the Arctic region in late 2021 and will expand to delivering global services in 2022, the company said in a statement.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, comments: “These are exciting times and the world now has a LEO alternative to work with. We look forward to partnering with those equally determined to enter this new Space Age. There is unmet demand around the globe for broadband connectivity and we intend to continue OneWeb’s social mission. We will use our joint venture facility to drive down cost of service, opening new use cases for low latency broadband provision.”
Sunil Bharti Mittal said this new phase and focus for the company brings new leadership with Neil Masterson, who has extensive experience in operating global technology platforms in a complex industry undergoing rapid change.
“Together with our UK Government as partners, we recognised that OneWeb has valuable global spectrum with priority rights, and we benefit from $3.3bn invested to-date and from the satellites already in orbit, securing our usage rights. I would like to thank Adrian Steckel for his valued contribution,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal.
In connection with completion of the restructuring process, OneWeb also announced a new management with Sunil Bharti Mittal as the Executive Chairman and Neil Masterson as the Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining OneWeb, Neil worked as Co-Chief Operating Officer at Thomson Reuters having enjoyed a 20-year career with the global provider of news, information, and software. Additional two non-executive board members representing the UK Government which is currently going through its public recruitment process will be announced.
Neil Masterson succeeds Adrian Steckel, who continues as an Adviser to the Board. Adrian joined OneWeb as CEO in September 2018 and has guided OneWeb through three successful launches, delivering 74 satellites into orbit and securing priority spectrum use rights for OneWeb.
UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma said this strategic investment demonstrates Government’s commitment to the UK’s space sector in the long-term and our ambition to put Britain at the cutting edge of the latest advances in space technology.
“Access to our own global fleet of satellites has the potential to connect people worldwide, providing fast UK-backed broadband from the Shetlands to the Sahara and from Pole to Pole. This deal gives us the chance to build on our strong advanced manufacturing and services base in the UK, creating jobs and technical expertise,” said Alok Sharma.
Neil Masterson said he is looking forward to helping the OneWeb team deliver and commercialise their vision to provide internet access across the globe.
“OneWeb has a strong social purpose to improve the world’s access to information, which I share. It has great talent, a compelling commercial opportunity, and is supported by committed and knowledgeable owners and investors. Our December launch puts the UK firmly in the global space business, alongside acknowledged Indian telecoms experts, Bharti Global. OneWeb will be a model for responsible co-operation in Space,” said Neil Masterson.
OneWeb also announces second half of December 2020 for its Return-to-Flight, with a 36-satellite payload scheduled for launch by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. All the satellites have shipped from Florida to Vostochny and are now undergoing preparation for launch.
Due to investment decisions made by the new shareholders, the joint venture facility with Airbus in Florida, USA was re-activated and the dual production lines brought back into service.
Launches will continue throughout 2021 and 2022 and OneWeb is now on track to begin commercial connectivity services to the UK and the Arctic region in late 2021 and will expand to delivering global services in 2022.