In keeping with their goal to make information available easily, all over the world, Google has decided to invest in a O3b Networks, an organisation that aims to provide Internet connectivity all over the world, especially to people in developing nations.
O3b stands for the ‘Other 3 Billion’ who do not live in Western society and do not enjoy the wonders of mobile and Internet technology. The O3bnetwork will be able to provide Internet connectivity to developing nations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East at high speed and low costs.
In its present form, the Internet is mainly accessible in developed nations thanks to an extensive network of submarine fiber optic cables, which work out to be very cost-effective once they are laid. In place where these fiber optic cables are unavailable, there are geo-synchronous satellites that can be used to connect to the Internet, but they provide very slow connectivity and are also very expensive, thus making Internet access unaffordable for most people in developing countries.
The new O3b system will provide fiber-like Internet services, by means of several medium-orbit satellites. In its initial phase, O3b will have a constellation of 16 satellites, providing low latency links ranging from 1Mbps to 10Gbps. These satellites will make it possible to access the Internet at high speeds with low latency, thus making it possible to quickly disseminate information even to the remotest of places such as the interiors of Africa, at reasonably low rates.
O3b satellites will be positioned around the earth, at almost one-third the distance of the geo-synchronous satellites, thus improving the connectivity and transmission times.
Backers Google, Liberty Global and HSBC have collectively contributed U.S. $60 million to O3b Networks. It is estimated that the O3b satellites will be functional by the end of 2010, making Internet access faster, cheaper and easier. This in turn will encourage upcoming market operators and internet service providers to improve the overall internet experience. For details please visit: