Virgin, Qualcomm invest in SpaceX’s satellite partner

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Credit: OneWeb

There are billions of people who do not have access to the internet, and tech’s biggest brands want to change that. Qualcomm and Virgin joined the fray today by announcing investments in WorldVu, now known as OneWeb, a satellite communications company that recently paired with SpaceX to build a fleet of 648 small satellites.

Neither company said how much they put into OneWeb, but both will contribute a member to its board. Virgin Galactic will deliver the satellites to orbit on its planned LauncherOne rocket, which is expected to be able to launch for a relatively inexpensive $10 million.

OneWeb plans to build each satellite for around $350,000, the Wall Street Journal reports. They will weigh 258 pounds and sit 750 miles above Earth.

Satellites can relay an internet connection to remote parts of the world that are difficult to reach with more traditional internet infrastructure. Companies like Google and Facebook are also pursuing satellite fleets, plus alternatives like balloons and drones.

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