OneWeb - the company building a constellation of satellites to enable global broadband access, has secured $1.2 billion in funding from SoftBank and other existing investors. $1 Billion of the $1.2 Billion will come from SoftBank.
This new round of funding will support OneWeb’s revolutionary technological development and the construction of the world’s first and only high volume satellite production facility. The new facility, based in Exploration Park, Florida will be capable of producing 15 satellites per week at a fraction of the cost of what any satellite manufacturing facility in the world can produce today. The investment is expected to create nearly 3,000 new engineering, manufacturing and supporting jobs in the U.S. over the next four years. The SoftBank-led investment will also support development to enable global access to affordable high-speed internet services for everyone, including every unconnected school in the world by 2022. OneWeb will also be used for consumer broadband, connected cars, cellular backhaul and the Internet of Things. Production at the new manufacturing facility in Exploration Park, Florida, is expected to begin in 2018.
Existing investors in OneWeb include Qualcomm Incorporated, Airbus Group, Bharti Enterprises, Hughes Network Systems, a subsidiary of EchoStar Corp., Intelsat, The Coca-Cola Company, the Virgin Group, and Totalplay, a Grupo Salinas Company. OneWeb plans to design and build a constellation starting with 720 low earth orbit (LEO) satellites, the largest in history, in order to provide global internet coverage with industry leading speed and performance, significantly lower latency, as well as a significant cost advantage as a result of advanced, low-risk manufacturing techniques. With more than 10 terabits per second of new capacity and User Terminals containing embedded LTE, 3G, 2G and Wifi, the OneWeb system will extend the networks of mobile operators and internet service providers (ISPs) to serve new coverage areas at a lower cost, bringing voice and data access to consumers, businesses, schools, healthcare institutions and other end users across the U.S. and around the world.
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017, subject to the satisfaction of certain customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. In connection with the investment, SoftBank Group Corp. Director Ronald D. Fisher will join OneWeb’s Board of Directors.