The Japan Times reports that domestic telecoms operator SoftBank Group Corp has revealed plans to invest JPY100 billion (USD848.4 million) in OneWeb, a US startup that is planning to build a global satellite telecommunications network. Unnamed sources with knowledge of the situation say the move forms part of SoftBank’s strategy to expand its overseas presence to increase profits. The planned OneWeb network will allow users to communicate with others even when ground-based infrastructure is damaged, such as in a disaster. It will also benefit people in developing countries, where the communications environment is generally poor, the sources said.
Set up in 2012, the satellite-internet startup whose backers include Airbus Group SE and entrepreneur Richard Branson, plans to create a high speed telecom network that covers the entire globe by launching small satellites into low orbit. In October this year, OneWeb embarked on a drive to raise roughly USD500 million to support its previously announced constellation of some 640 small, low-Earth orbit satellites designed to deliver fast broadband connections in rural and emerging markets.