Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook is working on a satellite Internet project designed to provide broadband access around the globe, Wired reports.
The emails show that the social network wants to launch Athena, its very own internet satellite, in early 2019. The new device is designed to “efficiently provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas throughout the world,” according to an application the social network appears to have filed with the FCC under the name PointView Tech LLC.
With the filing, Facebook joins Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Softbank-backed OneWeb, two well-funded organizations working on similar projects. In fact, SpaceX launched the first two of what it hopes will be thousands of its Starlink satellites just this past February.
The emails, which date back to July 2016, and subsequent confirmation from Facebook, confirm a story published in May by IEEE Spectrum, which used public records to speculate that Facebook had started a satellite internet project.
The new emails detail meetings between FCC officials and lawyers from a firm Facebook appears to have hired, which specializes in representing clients before government agencies. In one exchange from 2016, a lawyer from the firm requests to meet with FCC officials in the Office of Engineering & Technology and the International Bureau Satellite Division to discuss applying for an experimental license to construct and operate a “small LEO [low Earth orbit] satellite system with a limited duration mission.” The emails indicate that Facebook also set up subsequent meetings with the FCC in June and December of 2017.
Bryce Space and Technology has produced a new report, Start-up Space: Update on Investment in Commercial Space Ventures.
Below is the executive summary. You can also download the full report.
The Start-Up Space series examines space investment in the 21st century and analyzes investment trends, focusing on investors in new companies that have acquired private financing. Space is continuing to attract increased attention in Silicon Valley and in investment communities world-wide. Space ventures now appeal to investors because new, lower-cost systems are envisioned to follow the path terrestrial tech has profitably traveled: dropping system costs and massively increasing user bases for new products, especially new data products. Large valuations and exits are demonstrating the potential for high returns. (more…)
Intelsat has announced that its planned merger with startup satellite Internet provider OneWeb has collapsed.
The complex deal put together by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp would have required holders of Intelsat’s $14 billion debt to accept discounts on what they are owed. The proposed debt swap found no takers prior to the May 31 deadline for accepting it. Intelsat and OneWeb had extended the deadline several times.
SoftBank Group Leads Fundraising Round with $1 Billion Investment
Investment Supports Engineering and High-Volume Manufacturing of Next Generation Satellites at a New Facility in Exploration Park, Florida
Expected to Create Nearly 3,000 New Engineering, Manufacturing and Supporting Jobs in the United States Over the Next Four Years
Designed to Accelerate Delivery of Affordable, High-Speed Internet to Rural Areas Across the United States and Emerging Markets
Reflects Companies’ Shared Commitment to Building the Infrastructure Driving Tomorrow’s Technology Applications and Economic Growth
EXPLORATION PARK, Fla. (OneWeb PR)–OneWeb Ltd. (“OneWeb”), which is building a constellation of satellites to enable global broadband access, and SoftBank Group Corp. (“SoftBank”) announced today that OneWeb has secured $1.2 billion in funded capital from SoftBank and existing investors, of which $1 billion will come from SoftBank.