Category: Broadband

Intelsat: $9.8 billion of our $14.5 billion in long-term debt is up for discussion in Chapter 11

PARIS — Intelsat said $9.8 billion of the $14.5 billion in long-term debt it had accumulated before entering bankruptcy is subject to renegotiation as part of its Chapter 11 reorganization.
How much of this will be written off as part of a restructuring plan now being developed is unclear. Since filing for Chapter 11 protection on May 13, Intelsat has stopped paying interest on its unsecured debt, saving $102 million per month. It is continuing to pay interest on its secured debt.
Intelsat’s post . . .
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Charlie Ergen on EchoStar/Dish 5G synergies, S-band global IoT ambitions and GEO satellites’ broadband subsidy worry

PARIS — Charlie Ergen, the chairman of EchoStar Corp. and Dish Network, has never been easy to read. He still isn’t.
He expresses real doubt about satellite consumer broadband’s future in the United States but recognizes that EchoStar’s Hughes Network Systems, a satellite broadband company, is EchoStar’s main source of income and room to grow in the United States and elsewhere.
He has purchased billions in radio spectrum rights in the United States that may never pay off. He is . . .
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RigNet: We’ll get bandwidth concessions soon; no sign of competitors in Chapter 11 going ‘crazy’ on prices

PARIS — Offshore energy platform communications provider RigNet Inc. reported lower profitability in the three months ending June 30 because it could not renegotiate its satellite-bandwidth contracts as fast as its customers were reducing their operations.
The company said it had made progress on some of its satellite-capacity contracts, winning concessions from satellite fleet operators to soften the blow on RigNet’s financials.
RigNet earlier this year created a dedicated team to wrest contract concessions from satellite fleet operators as it confronted the effects of the . . .
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Hughes EBITDA up on higher consumer revenue; LatAm subs up 20%; enlisting OneWeb for FCC RDOF bid

PARIS — EchoStar Corp.’s Hughes Network Systems reported a 5% increase in average monthly consumer broadband subscription revenue for the three months ending June 30 compared to the previous three months as the Covid-19 pandemic kept people home and caused a spike in U.S. household broadband use.
The company reported an 11.2% decline in its U.S. subscribers during the same period, to 1.22 million. The decline was more than offset by a 20.2% increase in its Latin American subscribers, which totaled 321,000 . . .
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SES: No Covid-19 impact in Q2, some expected in H2; 4 more Boeing satellites for O3b mPower constellation

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator SES reported zero effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on its airline and maritime mobility business in the three months ending June 30 as contracts signed in 2019 took effect.
But the company acknowledged that the sharp drop in air travel and in the maritime cruise market is forcing SES customers in those markets to seek contract modifications that will take effect later this year.
Luxembourg-based SES lowered its 2020 revenue forecast by 4%, and its EBITDA forecast by 3.4%, to . . .
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Maxar throws in the towel on Telesat LEO, polishes its new US identity ahead of NRO competition

PARIS — Satellite manufacturer and Earth observation satellite services provider Maxar Technologies told investors to forget about the multibillion-dollar Telesat LEO broadband satellite constellation, saying it’s not sure Telesat will actually proceed with the project.
The statement, by Maxar Chief Executive Dan Jablonsky, was purposely ambiguous, and could be taken to mean Maxar does not like its chances against rival Thales Alenia Space, or that even if won, a Telesat LEO contract would not meet Maxar’s minimum-profitability threshold. He evoked both explanations.

DARPA: Blackjack LEO constellation won’t make initial price targets, but won’t be far off

PARIS — The incoming manager of the U.S. Defense Department’s Blackjack program to build and launch several dozen satellites testing commercially procured technologies in low Earth orbit said Blackjack is likely to miss its goal of $3 million per satellite, at least at the outset.
Stephen Forbes, Blackjack’s deputy program manager who has been promoted to program lead, said Blackjack’s priority missions are for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability, optical inter-satellite communications links and missile warning.
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research . . .
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Star-spangled selection: SES signs with SpaceX Falcon 9, ULA Atlas 5 to launch C-band-clearing satellites

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator SES, in a commercial decision flavored by political expedience, selected the SpaceX Falcon 9 and the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 to launch two stacked C-band satellites each in 2022. The SpaceX contract includes an option to launch a third satellite in the event of a satellite failure.
SES has ordered two satellites from Northrop Grumman and two from Boeing to provide C-band coverage over the United States as part of an agreement with the U . . .
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Iridium reports only moderate damage in 1st full Covid-19 quarter; Aireon, more exposed, needs shareholder loan

PARIS — Mobile satellite service provider Iridium Communications reported only mild turbulence from Covid-19 during the three months ending June 30 but said the drop in air traffic would mean its 22%-owned Aireon LLC, which provides global air-traffic surveillance, will require additional cash before stabilizing its business.
Iridium is contributing $11 million for its share of a $50 million loan being made available to Aireon by its shareholders, led by Nav Canada, which owns 45%. The loan carries an interest rate of 11%.

Maritime connectivity provider KVH reports surprisingly modest Covid-19 impact

PARIS — Maritime content and connectivity provider KVH Inc. sailed through the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic sustaining very little damage in the three months ending June 30 despite widespread port shutdowns in April.
Notably, the company said there was no sharp increase in cancellations by customers of KVH’s no-commitment AgilePlans service during the quarter. Average monthly customer revenue increased during the period following promotions to encourage customers to adopt higher-data-rate plans.
“While we did see an increase in suspensions and churn . . .
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