OneWeb, a low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company jointly owned by the UK government and Bharti Global, announced today that it has an additional Financing of SoftBank Group Corp. (“SoftBank”) and Hughes Network Systems LLC (“Hughes”) bringing OneWeb’s total funding to $ 1.4 billion.
With the capital raised to date, the company will be able to fully finance its first-generation satellite fleet, which comprises a total of 648 satellites, by the end of 2022.
OneWeb is committed to providing broadband connections worldwide to bridge the global digital divide by providing access to everyone, anywhere, including the future of the Internet of Things (IoT) and a path to 5G. OneWeb’s LEO satellite system comprises a network of global gateway stations and a number of user terminals for various customer markets that can provide affordable, high-speed, high-bandwidth, low-latency communication services. In December 2020, OneWeb launched 36 new satellites at the Airbus joint venture assembly plant in Florida, USA, were built. This increases the company’s total fleet to 110 satellites, all of which are fully functional and benefit from the International Telecommunication Union’s frequency priority.
Sunil Bharti Mittal , Executive Chairman of OneWeb , commented, “We are delighted with the investment from SoftBank and Hughes. Both are very familiar with our business, share our vision for the future and their commitment enables us to capitalize on the significant growth opportunities that lie ahead of OneWeb. We benefit from their experience and skills while delivering a unique LEO network to the world. ”
Secretary of State, BEIS, The Rt. Hon. Kwasi Kwarteng , MP said, “Our investment in OneWeb is part of our ongoing commitment to the UK space sector and putting the UK at the forefront of the latest technological advances. Today’s investment brings the company one step closer to fulfilling its mission of delivering global broadband connectivity to people, businesses and governments while potentially unlocking new opportunities for research, development and manufacturing in the UK. ”
Masayoshi Son , Representative Director, Corporate Officer, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank , said, “We are excited to support OneWeb as it increases capacity and accelerates towards commercialization. We are excited to continue our partnership with Bharti, the UK Government and Hughes to support OneWeb in its mission to transform Internet access around the world. ”
Pradman Kaul , President of Hughes, commented, “OneWeb continues to inspire the industry and attract the best players in the industry to come together and create the LEO constellation. The investments made today by Hughes and SoftBank will help unlock the full potential of OneWeb in connecting corporate, government and mobility customers, particularly with multi-transport services that our own geostationary offerings in meeting and accelerating demand to complement broadband around the world. ”
Neil Masterson , CEO of OneWeb added, “OneWeb’s mission is to connect everyone, everywhere. Since Chapter 11 closed in November, we’ve made rapid strides to get the business going again. We welcome the investments from SoftBank and Hughes as further evidence of the progress we have made in achieving our goal. ”
In connection with the investment, SoftBank will have a seat on the OneWeb Board of Directors. Hughes is, through its parent company EchoStar, an investor and also an ecosystem partner developing essential ground network technology for the OneWeb system.
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