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OneWeb raises $500 million to create a satellite broadband network

We’ve been hearing a lot about using satellites to provide Internet access across the globe over the past year or so. While companies like Facebook and Google recently abandoned such plans, Elon Musk still intends to have SpaceX develop its own system of Internet-beaming satellites. OneWeb may beat him to the punch, however, as the company has raised more than $500 million from big-name companies like Coca-Cola and Qualcomm to create a network of 648 satellites that will bring affordable Internet access to the less developed portions of the globe. 

A satellite broadband service that wants to bridge the digital divide by beaming the internet from space has announced $500m in funding. OneWeb said it has raised funds from companies including Airbus Group, Bharti Enterprises, Hughes Network Systems, Intelsat, Qualcomm, Coca-Cola, the Virgin Group, and Totalplay. It said the money will allow it to develop technologies to offer affordable broadband for rural and poorly served locations. The company said the network, delivered from 648 orbiting micro-satellites, will also provide high speed, low latency access to ships, planes, trains, and oil platforms. “The dream of fully bridging the digital divide is on track to be a reality in 2019,” said Greg Wyler, founder of OneWeb. “We are committed to solving one of the world’s biggest problems – enabling affordable broadband internet access for everyone.” Currently two-thirds of the world’s population does not have internet access. Earlier this month, OneWeb revealed a deal with Airbus to design and manufacture 900 microsatellites, and has now confirmed it has 65 rocket launches planned, including 21 Soyuz launches from Arianespace and 39 launches from Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne.

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