The satellite network will provide internet access in remote locations

900 satellites to be mass produced for global net coverage

900 satellites are to be mass produced in Florida by the Richard Branson backed start-up OneWeb, which aims to create a global network for high-speed internet access.

The satellite factory is due to be constructed near NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida after OneWeb finalised a contract with European defence and space manufacturer Airbus to design and build them last year.

The satellites, weighing less than 150kg each, will provide direct internet access to users in remote areas that still lack connectivity.

The network will be 10 times larger than any previous satellite constellation and should start allowing users to access high-speed internet as early as 2019.

The venture is led by OneWeb founder Greg Wyler and has raised $500m (£352m) from Virgin, Airbus, India's Bharti Enterprises, chipmaker Qualcomm, Hughes Network Systems, Intelsat SA, The Coca-Cola Co. and Mexico's Totalplay.

An official announcement about the factory is scheduled for tomorrow morning at an industrial park adjacent to NASA's spaceport, where the plant will be located. A number of localities in Florida and elsewhere had vied for the project.

The facility will mark the first time satellites have been mass-produced which could have a transformative effect on the rapidly evolving commercial space industry.

Although the initial production run will see the construction of 900 satellites, more could be built in the future.

Similar projects are under development by Elon Musk's SpaceX, which last year landed a $1bn investment by Google and Fidelity Investments for another space-based Internet constellation.

OneWeb intends to not only manufacture its own spacecraft for high-speed Internet access, but also sell satellites configured for other purposes to companies and organisations.

Airbus has already begun building an initial batch of 10 satellites at its manufacturing facility in Toulouse, France.

Some of OneWeb's satellites will be flown by Branson's space company, Virgin Galactic, which is developing a low-cost, small satellite launcher, as well as a suborbital passenger spaceship.

Google launched a group of internet-beaming balloons into the sky over Indonesia last year in order to boost online access in the country.

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