Data Driven Futures

OneWeb secures $1.25bn in new funding

Written by Peter Walker

OneWeb has secured $1.25 billion in new capital, its largest fundraising round to date, which brings the total funds raised to $3.4 billion.

This round was led by SoftBank Group, Grupo Salinas, Qualcomm Technologies and the Government of Rwanda.

Following the successful first launch of OneWeb’s satellites last month, this new investment will enable the company to accelerate the development of its global communications network by 2021. The system aims to deliver high speed, low latency, seamless broadband access, everywhere on Earth.

Chief executive Adrian Steckel commented: "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 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.”

OneWeb’s satellite arm, produced through its joint venture with Airbus, as OneWeb Satellites, will ramp-up production this spring at its new manufacturing facility in Exploration Park, Florida.

Starting in the fourth quarter this year, it will begin monthly launches of more than 30 satellites at a time, creating an initial constellation of 650 satellites to enable full global coverage. After this first phase, OneWeb will add more satellites to its constellation to meet growing demands.

The company’s priority rights to a large block of globally harmonized spectrum and its Low Earth Orbit constellation design will enable a unique combination of high speed, low latency and truly global service. The network should create connectivity for rural communities and schools, as well as for business and industries that demand seamless global connectivity solutions, such as aviation, maritime and land mobility.

To support the deployment of the system, OneWeb relies on high-tech satellite operation centres in both Virginia and in London, and has installed ground stations in Italy, Norway and Canada, with more on the way.