Nearly 180 ‘under-connected’ countries will have access to cost-effective, fast broadband Internet thanks to a new satellite Internet project. The project, named O3b for the ‘other 3 billion’, has already launched 4 of its 12 satellites into space.
In a statement made prior to the first in a series of launches, Chief Technical Officer of O3b Brian Holz suggested that the new network could change many lives. Internet pioneer Greg Wyler created O3b after travelling through Rwanda in 2007 and experienced ongoing frustration with its substandard telecommunications services.
By utilising small satellites around the equator, O3b is able to avoid the astronomical installation costs of ground-based networks, such as those based on fibre-optics or cables.
The system can offer high-speed Internet to the entire African continent, much of Latin America, Southeast Asia, Oceania, the Pacific, and the Middle East. While existing satellites do cover these areas, the services they offer would be too expensive and may not be as fast as those in the O3b network. The O3b network will provide the service at prices 30-50% cheaper than other satellite services.