Japan’s SoftBank to invest $1B in OneWeb sat factory
December 21, 2016 by The Associated Press
Dec. 20, 2016 – Japanese telecoms and energy company SoftBank has agreed to invest $1 billion in the U.S. company OneWeb Ltd., which plans to build a factory in Florida that the companies say could create 3,000 jobs.
Arlington, Virginia-based OneWeb plans to build a network of satellites to provide global broadband access.
The two companies announced late Monday that OneWeb had obtained pledges of $1.2 billion from SoftBank and other investors.
The $1 billion commitment follows a promise by SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son to President-elect Donald Trump to create 50,000 jobs and invest $50 billion in U.S. startups.
The funds will finance the construction of a satellite factory in Exploration Park, Florida, to produce 15 satellites per week at a low cost. The companies said the business could create nearly 3,000 new engineering, manufacturing and other jobs.
OneWeb expects the factory to go online in 2018.
Tokyo-based SoftBank is one of Japan’s biggest telecoms providers, with more than 63,590 employees, a solar power business, humanoid robots for home use, ride-booking services and financial technology. It recently set up a $25 billion private fund for technology investments, along with Saudi Arabia and other investors, that Son says could grow to $100 billion.
It was unclear if they funds promised to OneWeb were part of that pledge.