OneWeb secures £940m to provide global high-speed internet

OneWeb, a British start-up, has secured $1.25bn (£940m) in new funding to accelerate the launch of a global high-speed broadband network by 2021, according to a BBC report.

The company said its launch plans were now “inevitable”.

The latest round of funding comes after the company successfully launched its first satellites for the service in February.

Global internet coverage

The firm faces competition from several rivals, including Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which aims to build a similar network for global internet coverage.

OneWeb, founded by American telecoms entrepreneur Greg Wyler, has raised a total of $3.4bn (£2.5bn), including the latest round, from the likes of Japanese technology giant Softbank, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, drink giant Coca-Cola and chip-maker Qualcomm.

Starting later this year, the company will start launching more than 30 satellites at a time each month.

Eventually, these satellites will create a constellation aimed at providing full global internet coverage.

In order to provide global internet coverage, there will need to be 650 units in low Earth orbit, but this could increase to a total number of 2,000 satellites.

OneWeb called its plans “the largest satellite launch campaign in history”.

Poverty issues

Greg Wyler told the BBC last month that the aim of the campaign is to help people in developing countries.

“If you look across emerging markets where there is no internet access or very limited access, generally you see poverty,” Wyler said.

“Healthcare issues, gender inequality – whatever issue you can come up with, they all fall within that same map.

The fundamental underlying thing is that people don’t have opportunity; they don’t have the opportunity to learn, to take themselves out of poverty, to build their communities, and that’s why connectivity is so important.”

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