Space startup adds $1.25 billion from SoftBank and others to mass produce internet satellites

OneWeb announced $1.25 billion in additional funding from investors on Monday as the internet satellite start-up begins to rapidly increase production, aiming to launch 650 satellites into orbit over the next two years.

“OneWeb is moving from the planning and development stage to deployment of our full constellation.” OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel said in a statement.

This latest influx of cash represents OneWeb‘s largest single round of fundraising. The round was led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, Mexican conglomerate Grupo Salinas, and the Rwandan government. OneWeb has now raised a total of $3.4 billion since its inception in 2012, with earlier investments also coming from Virgin Group, , , , Hughes Communications and Indian conglomerate Bharti Enterprises.

The added capital enables OneWeb “to accelerate the development” of its global network of satellites, the company said. Marcelo Claure, SoftBank COO, said in a statement that OneWeb‘s first successful launch last month “extended its first-mover advantage” in the internet satellite race.

SpaceX and Telesat are just a few of the companies racing to build next-generation networks of satellites, called constellations. Using small satellites, OneWeb and others plan to use an interconnected network of satellites to provide internet coverage across the entire globe. These constellations are looking to offer speeds comparable to Earth-bound fiber optic networks.