OneWeb, a company dedicated to satellite-based internet, has raised additional funding from SoftBank and Hughes Network Systems.
OneWeb has been working to launch a constellation of satellites in low-Earth orbit to provide internet access. When compared with traditional satellite internet services, low-Earth orbit provides speeds and latency that rivals traditional broadband.
OneWeb is one of the prime competitors to SpaceX’s Starlink service, although OneWeb has yet to achieve the success of Starlink. The company declared bankruptcy in 2020, emerging from Chapter 11 in November.
2021 is already looking brighter for OneWeb, with investments from Hughes Network and SoftBank, bringing its total funding to $1.4 billion. The company is now fully funded for the first stage of its constellation, totally 648 satellites, which it plans to have operational by the end of 2022.
“We are delighted to welcome the investment from SoftBank and Hughes,” said Executive Chairman of OneWeb. “Both are deeply familiar with our business, share our vision for the future, and their commitment allows us to capitalise on the significant growth opportunity ahead for OneWeb. We gain from their experience and capabilities, as we deliver a unique LEO network for the world.”
A big factor in OneWeb’s favor is its streamlined plans, which it announced on January 13. The company had originally asked the FCC for licenses to 47,884 satellites. Now the company only plans on using 6,372.
Hopefully OneWeb’s latest funding will help it become a viable competitor to Starlink, giving consumers more choice in a burgeoning market.