SoftBank boosts OneWeb satellite network

Image: Satellite web
An artist’s conception shows a constellation of satellites in orbit. (Credit: OneWeb)

The OneWeb internet satellite venture says it has secured another $1.2 billion in investment, including a billion dollars from SoftBank Group.

OneWeb said the new infusion of capital will support the construction of a high-volume satellite production facility in Exploration Park, Fla., capable of producing 15 satellites a week. Production is to begin in 2018, with an eye toward having OneWeb’s network operating by as early as 2019.

The operation is expected to create nearly 3,000 new jobs in the U.S. over the next four years, including jobs in engineering and manufacturing, OneWeb said.

SoftBank’s investment serves as an initial follow-through on a pledge made by the Japan-based conglomerate’s chairman and CEO, Masayoshi Son, to President-elect Donald Trump. During a meeting in New York this month, Son told Trump that he’d invest $50 billion in the U.S. to create 50,000 jobs.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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