© OneWeb - Rendering of OneWeb's Florida manufacturing facility Electronics Production | December 20, 2016

Softbank invests $1 billion in satellite start-up OneWeb

Remember when US President-elect Donald Trump and SoftBank Group Corp.’s CEO, Masayoshi Son, announced that the Japanese company will invest USD 50 billion in the country and create 50’000 jobs – looks like they just started.
SoftBank has just announced today that OneWeb – which is building a constellation of satellites to enable global broadband access – has secured USD 1.2 billion in funded capital from SoftBank and existing investors – out of which USD 1 billion will come solely from SoftBank.

The USD 1.2 billion injection will support OneWeb's technology development and the construction of the world's first high volume satellite production facility. The new facility, based in Exploration Park, Florida will be capable of producing 15 satellites per week – and reportedly at a fraction of the cost of what any satellite manufacturing facility in the world. The investment will also support launch and operations of its communications network, the companies states in a press release.

Existing investors in OneWeb:
  • Qualcomm Incorporated
  • Airbus Group
  • Bharti Enterprises
  • Hughes Network Systems
  • Intelsat
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • the Virgin Group
  • Totalplay
Greg Wyler, Founder of OneWeb, said, “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 investment is expected to create nearly 3’000 new engineering, manufacturing and supporting jobs in the US 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.

According to the press release, OneWeb is planning to begin production at the new Florida manufacturing facility in 2018.

“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. [as Evertiq reported earlier]. 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,” Son continued.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017, subject to the satisfaction of certain customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
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