The OneWeb satellite venture says it has terminated its deal for a mega-merger with Intelsat because not enough of Intelsat’s bondholders agreed to a debt swap. The deal would have been facilitated by a $1.7 billion investment from Softbank, but it was contingent on a go-ahead from at least 85 percent of the bondholders. In a statement, OneWeb founder Greg Wyler said his company “remains on the fast track to bridge the digital divide” despite the setback, and still plans to deploy a low-Earth-orbit satellite constellation to provide global internet access. He said a production facility in France would start manufacturing satellites “in just a few weeks,” and launches would begin about 10 months later. OneWeb’s global service rollout would start with Alaska in 2019, he said. SpaceX and Boeing are among the other companies pursuing plans to provide global satellite broadband services.
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