Airbus is set to design and build 900 satellites for satellite company OneWeb, which will aim to give internet access to billions of people worldwide, Reuters reports.
The $2 billion project is partially bankrolled by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and chipmaker Qualcomm.
The plan is to launch 700 of the satellites by 2018, with 200 remaining on the ground as back up.
A number of the satellites will be launched by Virgin Galactic, which is working to develop its own low-cost launcher.
Branson revealed in January that he had invested in OneWeb’s project, but the amount has never been disclosed.
OneWeb’s mission is to create the world’s largest satellite constellation, providing high-speed internet access to otherwise disconnected locations.
The project has some stiff competition from Elon Musk who is also vying to provide internet access worldwide via satellite.
Musk’s project involves a network of 4,000 low-cost satellites that would be deployed from the company’s Falcon 9 rocket before orbiting earth.
Google has set its sights on space as well with its two projects on the go – Project Loon and the Solara 50. Project Loon aims to provide internet access via high altitude balloons and the Solara 50 is a solar powered drone.
Facebook hasn’t missed the calling either, it’s currently working with internet.org to build drones, satellites and lasers that will give connectivity to some of the most remote parts of the world.