SoftBank invests $1bn in satellite initiative OneWeb

Helen Cahill
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A map of OneWeb's planned coverage (Source: OneWeb)

SoftBank is pumping $1bn into satellite startup OneWeb, a start-up that is building a group of satellites to boost the world's internet access.

OneWeb has announced a $1.2bn fundraising round, with $200m coming from its current investors and the bulk from the Japanese communications group. The deal is set to close in the first quarter of 2017.

Read more: Trump takes the credit for SoftBank chief exec's £50bn investment

SoftBank's commitment to the project comes shortly after its chairman and chief executive, Masayoshi Son, met President-elect Donald Trump and promised to invest $50bn into the US.

The investment from SoftBank will be used to build the world's first production factory for building satellites in a high volume. OneWeb plans to build 15 satellites at the Florida factory per week, providing 3,000 new jobs when it opens in 2018.

OneWeb plans to make 15 satellites per week from its Florida factory in 2018 (Source: OneWeb)

Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive of SoftBank, said: "Earlier this month I met with President-elect Trump and shared my commitment to investing and creating jobs in the US. 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 honoured 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."

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