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Coca-Cola, Airbus, Bharti, others invest $500 million in space telecom OneWeb

Staff writer |
OneWeb, which is building a new global communications system to create affordable broadband services for all, has raised $500 million of funding from a group of leading international companies.

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OneWeb has attracted investment from Airbus Group, Bharti Enterprises, Hughes Network Systems, (Hughes), a subsidiary of EchoStar Corp., Intelsat, Qualcomm Incorporated, The Coca-Cola Company, Totalplay, a Grupo Salinas Company, owned by Ricardo B. Salinas, and Virgin Group.

This funding allows OneWeb to further develop key technologies to enable affordable broadband for rural and underdeveloped locations. The OneWeb User Terminals are optionally solar powered, and with their embedded LTE, 3G, 2G and Wifi access capabilities will extend the mobile operator’s reach.

The network will also provide unprecedented speeds and low latency access to ships, planes, trains and oil platforms while providing seamless interoperability with Intelsat’s fleet of Ku band satellites.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises and Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus Group, will be joining Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, Paul Jacobs, executive chairman of Qualcomm Incorporated, and Greg Wyler, founder of OneWeb, on the board of directors.

Each of the other founding shareholders, who will also be Board observers, will continue to advise the company and support the programme directly through provision of technical and manufacturing expertise, launch capabilities, and enabling access to potential customers.

Following the announcement on June 15 of its joint venture with Airbus Defence and Space pending regulatory approvals to design and manufacture its first 900 microsatellites, OneWeb also announced the largest commercial rocket acquisition ever of more than 65 rockets including 21 Soyuz launch orders from Arianespace and 39 launches from Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne.

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