Satellite telecom startup OneWeb, emboldened by the oversubscribed $1.2 billion Softbank-led investment gained in December, is on the verge of adding another 2,000 satellites to its previously proposed constellation of several hundred satellites.
OneWeb has raised $1.2 billion in an investor round led by SoftBank, completing the non-debt financing the start up needs to build its satellite internet constellation.
Airbus and OneWeb on Jan. 26 announced they had formed the company OneWeb Satellites, which will build the OneWeb constellation.
Greg Wyler’s audacious vision for connecting the world via a 720-satellite constellation has no successful precedent. But $500 million of initial investment capital and an impressive list of ground-floor partners go a long way toward building credibility.
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell on Oct. 27 downplayed the company’s 4,000-satellite broadband Internet constellation, saying the project remained “very speculative” pending a deeper assessment of its business case.
A proposed wave of low Earth orbit communications satellite constellations could become an interference hazard for satellites in geostationary orbit even if those new systems comply with existing rules, some satellite operators fear.
The French government, determined that its industry not lose out on what might be a large new business in building low-orbiting satellite communications constellations, has issued a request for bids to industry for ideas on new components and manufacturing techniques.
OneWeb LLC, which is planning a 700-satellite constellation of low-orbiting satellites to provide broadband worldwide, on Oct. 12 named Matthew O’Connell, a former chief executive of geospatial imagery provider GeoEye, as chief executive.
Satellite fleet operator Intelsat says its investment in start-up OneWeb’s low-orbiting constellation of 700 Internet-delivery and cellular-backhaul satellites came in return for exclusive rights to a wide swath of OneWeb’s future markets.
Craig Clark, founder and CEO of Scotland’s Clyde Space Ltd., gives his views on the small satellite market and innovations like OneWeb’s planned mega-constellation venture.
Intelsat asked U.S. regulators to block a SpaceX launch of two small satellites to test technologies for a future low-orbiting Internet-delivery constellation, claiming SpaceX has refused to disclose sufficient information relating to potential frequency interference and collision risk.
Despite a wave of funding and contract announcements by competitor OneWeb, SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk said July 7 that his company is still taking a “careful” approach to plans for a communications satellite constellation.
OneWeb announced $500 million in equity coming from Indian and Mexican telecommunications providers, ground segment builders, the satellite prime contractor and even from an ostensible competitor in satellite fleet operator Intelsat. Intelsat will now be a OneWeb partner, with the two companies sharing customers and spectrum.
Start-up satellite Internet provider OneWeb LLC, in a move that will quiet, if not silence its doubters, on June 25 announced that it had raised $500 million in equity from sources as varied as Indian telecommunications network provider Bharti Enterprises, Coca-Cola and cellular network operator Totalplay Telecommunications Inc. of Mexico.
The low Earth orbit constellations planned by upstarts OneWeb and SpaceX have garnered comparisons to the 1990s space-telecom bust.