Nir Barkan, UK chief executive of Curvalux, said he thought South Yorkshire was a ‘lovely place’ and his impression was very positive.
The company had chosen to build its first factory close to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre because of its unique knowledge of materials, production costs and optimisation, and lightweighting, he added.
Curvalux plans to create 200 direct jobs and more than 1,000 in the supply chain over the next five years, boosting the economy by £200m.
Its systems use masts to connect remote and rural communities to the internet.
Mr Barkan had several meetings in the UK and Israel, where he is based, with people from Rotherham, Sheffield and the AMRC between August last year and March.
The Sheffield City Region organisation is giving the company an £8m taxpayer-funded grant to set up shop in South Yorkshire.
He said: “This is very exciting. We are working very hard to have a core team up and running soon. I’m really looking forward to starting production and starting connecting rural areas in the UK.”
The company will begin by opening a research and design office in Sheffield city centre and needs up to 20 engineers now, he added. A factory site has not yet been chosen.
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, the Middle East and USA since 2018, with further trials planned in Europe and South Africa.
Mr Barkan said they had outsourced manufacturing to third parties so far. Its first factory, in South Yorkshire, would help serve the UK and the US, where more than 20m households had poor internet speeds or were using expensive satellite connections.
“I’m talking to many people in the UK and I understand there’s a great demand for broadband and speeds are not great in many areas outside the cities.”
Curvalux’s system, which typically delivers 15mbps but has been tested at 500mbps, was up to 1,000 times cheaper than satellite, he added.
The firm is part of Airspace Internet Exchange Inc, a company established by top satellite industry executive Tom Choi.
Mr Barkan said it had the backing of investors and was already generating cash.
Curvalux sells or leases its transmitters. Householders need a small receiver. The system reuqires ‘line of sight’ between mast and house. But the next generation won’t, Mr Barkan added.
He had some concerns around Brexit until new UK trade rules were agreed, he added, and they wouldn’t want to move people into the UK who then had to leave.
The AMRC, based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham, is part of Sheffield University. It has a dozen hi-tech buildings and 100 paying partners, including Rolls-Royce, McLaren and Boeing.
The Sheffield City Region has made grants to clinch inward investors including £12m to McLaren and £5m to Boeing.