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Bill Gates invests US$78m in satellite antenna firm Kymeta

Bill Gates invests US$78m in satellite antenna firm Kymeta

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[REDMOND] Billionaire Bill Gates is leading satellite antenna firm Kymeta's latest funding round with a US$78 million investment, the company's president told Reuters.

Redmond, Washington-based Kymeta, which sells pizza box-sized antennas for installation on cars, trains and boats, secured US$85.2 million in capital.

It plans to launch a monthly subscription service for satellite-based Internet to government customers later this year, Kymeta president and chief operating officer Walter Berger said in an interview.

"The thesis here is to advance connectivity on a global basis. Cellular doesn't do that," he said.

Mr Gates's firm, which has invested in at least one other funding round, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Kymeta's antennas mainly link with satellites in high orbital altitudes and can link to remote places as well moving planes and vehicles.

A range of companies, like Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos' Amazon, are building networks of satellites in low-Earth orbit, an expensive and high-risk endeavor that has sent satellite operator OneWeb into bankruptcy.

Kymeta's funding round comes on the heels of acquiring satellite service provider Lepton Global Solutions, cementing a key government customer base and gaining access to 17 communications satellites in orbit.

The company plans to launch a satellite antenna bundle by the end of 2020 for US$1,000 a month, Mr Berger said.

Kymeta has been in discussions with various companies building low-Earth orbit satellite constellations, Mr Berger said.

REUTERS

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