Virgin, Qualcomm to fund satellite internet network

By on
Virgin, Qualcomm to fund satellite internet network

To offer high-speed access across the globe.

Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Qualcomm will invest in a venture to build and fly a constellation of 648 satellites that can provide high-speed, global internet access.

Some of the spacecraft will be launched by Virgin's spaceflight company, Virgin Galactic, which is developing a satellite-delivery service called LauncherOne, as well as a fleet of passenger suborbital vehicles, called SpaceSpaceTwo.

Virgin Galactic's first spaceship was destroyed during a fatal test flight last year.

WorldVu Satellites Limited, now operating as OneWeb, is currently reviewing proposals from potential manufacturers, CEO Greg Wyler said.

The constellation, which is will cost between US$1.5 billion and US$2 billion, is intended to provide high-speed internet and telephone services worldwide.

OneWeb's spacecraft will weigh less than 36 kg and be positioned in orbits roughly 1207 km above the Earth.

"The OneWeb system will extend the networks of mobile operators globally, enabling them to provide coverage to rural and remote areas," the company said in a statement.

OneWeb intends to partner with local operators to provide internet access.

"Imagine the possibilities for the 3 billion people in hard to reach areas who are currently not connected," Branson said in a statement.

"We are pleased to join Virgin as an initial investor, and we look forward to helping fund initial technical feasibility work for the satellite system," Qualcomm executive chairman Paul Jacobs said.

Wyler declined to disclose how much Virgin and Qualcomm would invest in OneWeb. Branson and Jacobs will join OneWeb's board of directors.

Before starting OneWeb, Wyler co-founded another satellite venture, O3b Networks, and briefly worked at Google on another project to beam internet access from space.

Got a news tip for our journalists? Share it with us anonymously here.

Most Read Articles

Log In

  |  Forgot your password?