Internet For The Other 3 Billion

Heise News reported recently about O3b Networks, a new satellite operator who’s mission statement is to connect “The Other 3 Billion” to the Internet. Hence, their name O3b. It was probably worth a post as one of the investors is a certain Google Inc. The company’s web site doesn’t yet contain a lot of material but what they’ve already put there makes some interesting reading. Heise reports that the company aims to put 16 satellites built by Thales Alenia aerospace into orbit with a total of 2300 transponders. Each transponder has an uplink/downlink bandwidth of 216 MHz, which delivers a throughput of 600 MBit/s in each direction. The company targets fixed line and mobile networks in the developing world for backhaul services and says there system is designed for significant savings over previous backhaul transport in regions where laying a fiber is no option. It would be interesting to get some hard numbers in terms of dollars per month. Latency of the system is given at 65 milliseconds, quite important for real time services such as voice and interactive services such as web browsing. The company also positions itself for emergency scenarios and says they can get bandwidth to any place around the globe +/- 45 degrees of the equator within 10 minutes. The satellites have yet to be brought into orbit which is foreseen around 2010. An ambitious and exciting project!

One thought on “Internet For The Other 3 Billion”

  1. There was a similar project developed by Hughes Network Systems called Spaceway. I worked in that project long back, but have no knowledge since then. Ofcourse, the bandwidth promised here is way too large when compared with that. Problem with these sort of projects is with the initial installation costs, like launching satellites, getting global frequency allocation etc.., Hope this would pass all these initial hurdles, now that Google is backing this. But this is definitely exciting news, especially when there is potential to provide on-demand bandwidth even to remote places.

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