Internet connectivity Satellites

OneWeb raises $3.4 billion for Global Satellite Internet Network

OneWeb, a global communication company, has secured $1.25 billion in new funding after successfully launching their first round of satellites into orbit. The company’s goal is to provide a “globe-encompassing internet system” to all corners of the Earth, providing high speed connections to people all over the world, including those in remote areas that have no access to fiber-optic cabling.

The process of providing internet to the whole globe involves building a constellation of satellites which are in very low orbit around the earth.

When completed, the constellation will consist of 650 washing machine sized satellites orbiting just over 1,200 km from Earth. This distance is far smaller than normal satellites which are over 32,000 km away.

In February 2019, OneWeb launched their first rocket which carried six satellites. The satellites are produced through a joint venture with AirBus, intend to ramp up production in a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Exploration Park, Florida. The company intends to launch thirty satellites each month. The satellites will operate by beaming down a high-speed internet service to antennas back on Earth, which can be placed on buildings, planes, cruise ships and more.

Following the success of their first rocket launch, OneWeb’s latest funding brings their total investment to $3.4 billion. Initial investors include companies such as the Virgin Group and Coca-Cola. This round of funding has secured investment from SoftBank Group Corp., Grupo Salinas, Qualcomm Technologies Inc. and the Government of Rwanda. A large portion of the funds will be allocated to OneWeb’s satellite factory where the company is building two satellites each day.

OneWeb faces competition against SpaceX, Telesat and LeoSat, who have similar goals. Having said that, investors like Softbank have commented that the company is playing a very long-term investment game with OneWeb and are in no rush to see a return on investment

OneWeb founder, Greg Wyler said in a statement, “We are committed to bridging the digital divide, and this funding helps ensure our globally shared dream will soon become a reality. We look forward to continuing our work with the many supportive and forward-looking Governments, ISP’s, and Telecom Operators to help them broaden the reach of connectivity to connect people everywhere”