£200m broadband systems factory set to create more than 200 jobs in Sheffield City Region

A hi-tech broadband company is set to create hundreds of jobs in £200m plans to build a factory in the Sheffield region.

By David Walsh
Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 3:24 pm

CurvaLux plans to create 200 direct jobs and more than 1,000 in the supply chain over the next five years. Its investment in research and development, building costs and machinery is expected to top £200m in the same period.

The firm makes broadband systems that use masts to connect remote and rural communities to the internet.

The Star revealed ‘Project Chorus’ in December, including plans by the Sheffield City Region organisation to plough £8m into the project.

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The Curvalux team.

CurvaLux UK chief executive Nir Barkan said the job numbers could go up ‘substantially’ and they were working with recruiters now.

“The business plans to create 200 direct jobs and over 1,000 jobs in the supply chain over the first five years. Longer-term growth will increase these numbers substantially.

“Curvalux is currently working with recruitment companies in order to hire the core team, which will include a number of specialist roles such as RF, antenna, FPGA, and algorithm engineers.

“The combination of R&D, capex and production purchases is expected to reach £200m over the first five years.

“We are currently actively looking for our space which will be located in the Sheffield City Region.”

The company’s systems are based on ‘smart multi-beam phased-array antennas’ and says its patented low-energy technology avoids costly power infrastructure.

It has been demonstrating them with major service providers in Asia, Middle East, and USA since 2018, with further trials planned in Europe and South Africa.

Curvalux is part of Airspace Internet Exchange Inc., a company established by Tom Choi - a top satellite industry executive - to pursue the next generation of low-cost satellite and wireless broadband systems. Aimed principally at export markets, Curvalux’s technologies are also relevant to the UK’s digital infrastructure.

Thomas Choi, executive chairman of Curvalux, said: “I look forward to working with the Sheffield City Region as we develop our next generation of innovative digital solutions. The UK’s renewed commitment to R&D and desire to grow in global markets makes it a natural location for us.

“We expect to attract high-calibre employees and capable suppliers from across the UK and will engage with the AMRC and wider High Value Manufacturing Catapult as an integral part of our approach.”

The AMRC, Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, helps hi-tech manufacturers develop and test advances in technology. Partners including Boeing, Rolls-Royce and McLaren. It is part of The University of Sheffield.

The SCR has previously made multi-million pound grants to attract inward investors including £12m to McLaren, which set up a £50m factory in Rotherham, and £5m to Boeing to establish a £20m facility in Sheffield, its first in Europe.

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