It comes in light of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, a spokesperson for OneWeb confirmed.
Satellite operator OneWeb has confirmed that its workforce has been reduced via layoffs and potential launch schedule delays amid reports of bankruptcy.
However, the scheduled satellite launch has been confirmed to take place on March 21 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
A OneWeb spokesperson told Techcrunch: “We think it is inevitable that there will be delays to our launch schedule and satellite manufacturing due to increasing travel restrictions and the disruption of supply chains globally. Therefore, we made the difficult decision to eliminate some roles and responsibilities as we work to focus on core operations. We are sorry to have had to take this step and we’re doing everything we can to support those affected.”
This follows a report from by Bloomberg that OneWeb, which has nearly $3bn in investment from SoftBank over its past two rounds, is considering filing for bankruptcy protection as one possible way to deal with a crunch in its available cash.
OneWeb did not comment on the reported bankruptcy consideration.
OneWeb aims to provide high-bandwidth communication services using low Earth orbit satellites, with a focus on rural and other areas that are hard-to-reach for terrestrial networks. It faces competition from companies including SpaceX, which has launched 302 Starlink satellites for its own network to date, and Amazon, which has yet to launch any spacecraft but is planning a similar offering under its own Project Kuiper.