QUALCOMM, Inc. (QCOM) Backs Former Google Inc (GOOGL) Employee’s Satellite ISP Venture

QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) has announced that it will back a company founded by a former Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) employee which aims to launch a network of satellites into orbit to make one big satellite-based internet provider, a report from Union-Tribune San Diego reveals.

QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) will be joined by Virgin Galactic, LLC in its investment in OneWeb operated by a company called WorldVu Satellites. The terms of the investment were not divulged by the companies involved.

“We have a shared vision to bring connectivity to underserved areas around the world. We are pleased to join Virgin as an initial investor, and we look forward to helping fund initial technical feasibility work for the satellite system,” said Qualcomm Executive Chairman Paul Jacobs in a statement, the UT San Diego writes.

Jacobs and Virgin top executive Richard Branson will be joining OneWeb’s board of directors. The company plans to launch a network of 648 microsatellites and create a worldwide internet service provider specifically targeting areas traditional providers cannot reach.

If the idea of launching a satellite network for internet service is familiar, it’s because Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has a similar project in mind. Just last year, it was revealed that the internet giant is ready to spend up to $3 billion for a similar project.

The links to the world’s foremost search engine do not stop there. QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM)-backed OneWeb was founded by Greg Wyler after he left Google in 2012. Before working at Google, Wyler founded O3b Networks in 2007 to – you guessed it – launch a network of satellites to provide internet access to hard-to-reach areas.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s satellite internet service project is linked to O3b as it is the company that will implement the idea. O3b has raised $1.3 billion in funding and Google is among its investors.

Meanwhile, QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Virgin Galactic, LLC can expect a partially working network of satellites by late 2017, the Union-Tribune San Diego reports. Virgin will be helping launch the 250-pound satellites into low orbit.

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Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management owned about 9.3 million QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) shares by the end of 3Q2014. Andreas Halvorsen’s Viking Global owned 923,500 Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) shares by the end of the same quarter.