Alaska broadband deal revived with purchase of bankrupt company


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The purchase of a bankrupt UK telecommunications company appears to have revived an Alaskan company’s plan to deploy broadband satellite 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 bankruptcy on March 27, which appeared to end an agreement between the company and Pacific Dataport, also known as PDI, the company’s broadband subsidiary. Telecommunications Microcom Inc, based in Anchorage.

OneWeb and PDI announced a commercial partnership in January to wholesale broadband capacity in Alaska and Hawaii.

OneWeb was restored earlier this month when the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy partnered with investment firm Bharti Global Ltd. to buy OneWeb for over $ 1 billion and restart its global satellite project.

Hughes Communications Inc. on July 27 announced its agreement in principle to also invest $ 50 million if creditors and regulators approve the purchase.

OneWeb’s LEO network of low-earth orbit satellites was under development when the company lost several large companies. They cited the financial uncertainty linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

PDI’s director of government affairs, Shawn Williams, said the pandemic had delayed work by 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 filed for bankruptcy, Williams said.

The Aurora project is expected to deliver 7.5 Gbps of broadband capacity early next year, while the planned launch of a second satellite in 2022 is expected to provide additional bandwidth, PDI said.

PDI and OneWeb plan to start offering combined broadband service in Alaska next year as part of the Aurora and LEO projects.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as a fever and cough that go away within two to three weeks. But for some – especially the elderly and people with existing health problems – it can cause more serious illnesses, including pneumonia and death.

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