Airbus and OneWeb to compete with Internet.org in worldwide internet race

For some companies, bringing the internet to the entire world is an important part of giving people greater opportunities.

Mark Zuckerberg has been pedalling Internet.org for some time now - even if a lot of people don’t like the scheme - and now there's a new kid on the block.

Airbus is due to start building more than 900 satellites for OneWeb, a company looking to bring highspeed internet access to billions of people all over the world. The aim is to offer 100 percent coverage of the globe, and there is a great focus on speed. Airbus is hoping to build more than one satellite per day and launch the first batch in 2018.

Unlike Internet.org, the intention here is not to bring free internet access to people, but costs are being kept low. With a set of production values that require the creation of several of the 150kg satellites each day, Airbus says OneWeb "inspired us to develop innovative designs and processes that will dramatically lower the cost in large volumes for high performance space applications".

The company wants to build as many as four satellites per day. Production will start in France, but once an initial batch of ten is complete, manufacturing will switch to the US.

The units are much smaller than many of the satellites that are currently used, and it is hoped that when the network is operational it will be able to offer connection speeds comparable to terrestrial fiber.

The project is expected to cost between $1.5 and $2 billion (£950 million - £1.2billion), and is being part-funded by chipmaker Qualcomm and Richard Branson's Virgin Group.