Monday, September 8, 2008

O3b Networks to Deploy Broadband Satellite Constellation for Wholesale Services

O3b Networks, a start-up satellite operator based in the UK, announced plans to provide high-speed, low-cost Internet connectivity to emerging markets in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. The venture has attracted a number of prominent investors, including Google, Liberty Global, and HSBC Principal Investments.

O3b Networks said its system will serve developing region by offering fiber performance over satellite to local telcos and ISPs, at prices comparable to fiber in developed regions. By allowing direct connection to core networks and 3G Cellular/WiMAX towers, the O3b Networks system hops to completely change the economics of telecommunications infrastructure in the world's fastest-growing markets for communications services.

O3b Networks' operational and technical development is well underway. Production of the initial constellation of 16 satellites has begun. The system's 2,300 transponder equivalents will deliver low-latency Internet backhaul at speeds reaching 10 Gbps. Service activation is scheduled for late 2010. The scalable nature of the system allows for additional satellites to increase capacity and meet growing demand.

"Access to the Internet backbone is still severely limited in emerging markets. Only when emerging markets achieve affordable and ubiquitous access to the rest of the world will we observe locally generated content, widespread e-learning, telemedicine and many more enablers to social and economic growth which reflect the true value of the Internet. O3b Networks will bring multi-gigabit Internet speeds directly to the emerging markets, whether landlocked in Africa or isolated by water in the Pacific Islands," said Greg Wyler, O3b's CEO.

  • O3b's satellites are being developed by Thales Alenia Space. The unique satellite design features steerable Ka-Band transponders designed to enable the high speed flow of data between locations on the ground. Twelve (12) fully steerable antennas ensure an optimized connection to the area where data is needed. O3b said its design also allows for inter-antenna data transfer in a variety of ways. Each steerable antenna can be moved onto a location in minutes and each provide up to 1.25 Gbps of throughput.

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