EXPLORATION PARK, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--OneWeb Ltd. (“OneWeb”), which is building a constellation of satellites to enable global broadband access, and SoftBank Group Corp. (“SoftBank”) announced today that OneWeb has secured $1.2 billion in funded capital from SoftBank and existing investors, of which $1 billion will come from SoftBank.
The $1.2 billion fundraising round announced today 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, and expediting construction, launch and operations of its communications network. 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, as well as using OneWeb’s leading technology for growing global markets including consumer broadband, connected cars, cellular backhaul and the Internet of Things. OneWeb will begin production at the new manufacturing facility in Exploration Park, Florida, beginning in 2018.
Founded in 2012 with the mission of providing affordable internet access for everyone, OneWeb is transforming the design and manufacture of satellites through innovative technologies that enable faster, cheaper, and higher-volume production. 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.
“SoftBank has a long history of investing in disruptive, foundational technologies that promise to help us realize the future sooner. OneWeb is a tremendously exciting company poised to transform internet access around the world from their manufacturing facility in Florida,” said Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO of SoftBank. “Earlier this month I met with President-Elect Trump and shared my commitment to investing and creating jobs in the U.S. This is the first step in that commitment. America has always been at the forefront of innovation and technological development and we are thrilled to be playing a part in continuing to drive that growth as we work to create a truly globally connected ecosystem.”
Greg Wyler, Founder of OneWeb, said, “I have long admired Mr. Son’s track record and his vision for the future of a technologically-powered world. I am honored to welcome SoftBank as a long-term investor and strategic partner. SoftBank’s investment underscores the evolution and continued success of our company and accelerates our strategic growth plan. We look forward to working together as we execute on our mission to build a global knowledge infrastructure that provides affordable broadband to the over four billion people across the globe without internet access.”
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.
About SoftBank Group
The SoftBank Group is a global technology player that aspires to drive the Information Revolution. The SoftBank Group is comprised of the holding company SoftBank Group Corp. (TOKYO: 9984) and its global portfolio of companies, which includes advanced telecommunications, internet services, AI, smart robotics, IoT and clean energy technology providers. In September 2016, ARM Holdings plc, the world’s leading semiconductor IP company, joined the SoftBank Group. To learn more, please visit www.softbank.com.
OneWeb’s mission is to enable affordable internet access for everyone and is building a communications network with a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites that will provide connectivity to billions of people around the world. With more than 10 terabits per second of new capacity, it will extend the networks of mobile operators and ISP’s to serve new coverage areas, bringing voice and data access to consumers, businesses, schools, healthcare institutions and other end users.