The UK government will become a ‘big’ equity partner in OneWeb along with Bharti Global and will invest $500 million to save the business from financial strains. As Bharti Global assumes corporate and operational management at the venture, the UK Government has a stake in the satellite company and is now creating a new chapter of the Race.
“This deal highlights on the global stage the extent of the British ambitions,” said Sharma. “Our access to a global fleet of satellites has the potential to connect millions of people worldwide, many for the first time, to broadband, and our strong advanced manufacturing base in Great Britain will also be further developed.”
Although this may prove a valuable expenditure to the UK Government as low-earth orbit satellites play an important role in the communications patchwork to deliver to the global economy, it will also help to cut the dependence of other parties on satellite constellations. This could be another step for Brexiteers to create a more autonomous country.
OneWeb is not in a safe condition as it stands. The satellite network Challenger submitted a loan reorganization process for chapter 11 Bankruptcy in March, as it reduces the company and increases the loans for an extensive amount of time. The Business, Energy, and Industrial Policy (BEIS) Department announcement will provide the business with relief.
“We are delighted to have concluded the sales process with such a positive result, that not just OneWeb creators will benefit, but also the global mission and global connectivity promise for our employees, sellers, commercial partners, and supporters,” said Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb.
“We are emerging as a pioneer in low latency communication with the combination of HMG and Bharti’s immediate benefit. This good results for OneWeb underline the confidence that our whole team has in our organization, technology, and work. We are looking forward to finishing the process and restarting our satellites as soon as possible with differentiated and scalable technology, special spectrum assets, and an impressive business potential ahead of us.”
It is interesting that UK Government participation will bring considerably more prestige to the Space Race connectivity chapter.
Although the promise of low-earth orbit satellites in connection with the digital economy communication void is very interesting, the hype is unproven to date. This could explain why as opposed to conventional moneymen from big banks, the rush to launch mobile broadband-capable satellites is being financed by visionary billionaires. Besides OneWeb, the two other projects worth mentioning are Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink or Jeff Bezos’ project Kuiper.
Investing in concepts also takes the same curve of hype as all other life elements. Niche private-equity companies or retail investors typically fuel embryonic ideas while more common, risks-adverse routes take banks, pension funds, and institutional investors. Big investment by an essential government is not only a tick for OneWeb but also a sign of legitimacy for the entire sub-sector.