ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The purchase of a bankrupt British telecommunications company appears to have revived a project for an Alaska company to deploy satellite broadband service.
OneWeb Satellites and Anchorage-based Pacific Dataport Inc. said their agreement remains valid, The Alaska Journal of Commerce reported Wednesday.
London-based OneWeb filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 27, which appeared to end a deal the company made with Pacific Dataport, also known as PDI, the broadband subsidiary of Anchorage-based telecom Microcom Inc.
OneWeb and PDI announced a business partnership in January to sell wholesale broadband capacity across Alaska and Hawaii.
OneWeb was restored earlier this month when the U.K. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy partnered with investment firm Bharti Global Ltd. to purchase OneWeb for more than $1 billion and restart its global satellite project.
Hughes Communications Inc. announced July 27 it agreed in principle to also invest $50 million if creditors and regulators approve the purchase.
OneWeb’s LEO network of low-earth orbit satellites was in development when the company lost several large corporate investors. They cited financial uncertainty from the coronavirus pandemic.
PDI Government Affairs Director Shawn Williams said the pandemic delayed work about four months, but the company’s partnership with OneWeb “stands exactly where it was before the filing. If anything, it’s stronger.”
PDI continued work on its own Alaska-focused Aurora System satellite broadband project after OneWeb’s bankruptcy filing, Williams said.
The Aurora project is expected to offer 7.5 Gbps of broadband capacity early next year, while the planned launch of a second satellite in 2022 should provide additional bandwidth, PDI said.
PDI and OneWeb expect to begin offering combined broadband service in Alaska next year through the Aurora and LEO projects.
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