London-based satellite communication company OneWeb has secured a further £941 million ($1.25 billion) in a funding round led by SoftBank Group Corp.
This brings the total amount raised by OneWeb to $3.4 billion, the latest round also included investment from Qualcomm Technologies and Grupo Salinas.
The company is aiming to establish global connectivity using a constellation of 650 satellites operating in a low-earth orbit. Initially the project hopes to provide global connectivity at speeds of 500mb/s with a latency under 50ms.
The service could be instrumental for emergency services as it would provide instant connectivity in hard-to-reach locations. Through the use of an OneWeb mobile terminal, first responders will be able to avail of 200m wide LTE coverage circles when they are out of range of cellular towers.
Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb commented in a release that: “With the recent successful launch of our first six satellites, near-completion of our innovative satellite manufacturing facility with our partner Airbus, progress towards fully securing our ITU priority spectrum position, and the signing of our first customer contracts, OneWeb is moving from the planning and development stage to deployment of our full constellation.”
“Our success is made possible thanks to the backing of our investors and the cooperation of our world class commercial partners including Arianespace, Airbus, Qualcomm Technologies Inc., Virgin, and Hughes.”
UK Space Agency
In 2016 the company raised $1.2 billion in investment from a SoftBank led fundraising round, much of that investment will be used to build a high volume satellite production facility in Florida. Previously in a Series A funding round it received investment from companies such as Airbus, Coca-Cola, Virgin Group and Qualcomm, which brings the total amount raised by OneWeb to $1.7 billion.
The UK Space Agency has also contributed to the OneWeb project, last February they committed £18 million in funding to the UK-based company.
At the time Science Minister Chris Skidmore commented on a visit to an ESA station in the Netherlands: “The commercial potential for a cost effective worldwide telecoms satellite system is huge, and the UK space sector is playing a leading role in delivering it. It is made possible by our ongoing commitment to the European Space Agency and our world-leading capabilities in space and telecommunications.”