Space start-up OneWeb has secured $1.25bn in new funding to start mass production of satellites and accelerate the development of the first global communications network by 2021.

Led by SoftBank Group, Grupo Salinas, Qualcomm Technologies and the Rwandan Government, the latest financing brings the total funds raised by the company to $3.4bn.

OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel said: “With the recent successful launch of our first six satellites, near-completion of our innovative satellite manufacturing facility with our partner Airbus, progress towards fully securing our ITU priority spectrum position and the signing of our first customer contracts, OneWeb is moving from the planning and development stage to deployment of our full constellation.”

The OneWeb Satellites joint venture (JV) between Airbus and OneWeb will accelerate satellite production this year at the company’s new manufacturing facility in Exploration Park, Florida, US.

“OneWeb is moving from the planning and development stage to deployment of our full constellation.”

The company started the construction of the manufacturing plant in March 2017 with an $85m investment.

In June 2017, a new assembly line was opened in France to commence end-to-end validation, testing and integration of the company’s first satellites set for launch in more than nine months.

Beginning the fourth quarter of this year, it will start monthly launches of more than 30 satellites at a time, with an aim to launch 650 satellites into orbit over the next two years to enable full global coverage.

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SoftBank Group COO Marcelo Claure said: “OneWeb has extended its first-mover advantage and is on track to become the world’s largest and first truly global communications network.

“OneWeb’s potential is undeniable as the growth in data from 5G, IoT, autonomous driving and other new technologies drives demand for capacity above and beyond the limits of the existing infrastructure.”