O3b Constellation Receives Backing, Orders Satellites from Thales
[Satellite Today 09-09-08] O3b Networks Ltd. plans to deploy a new global communications constellation to provide high-speed Internet connectivity to emerging markets in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, the company announced Sept. 9.
O3b has ordered 16 low-earth orbit satellites for the constellation from Thales Alenia Space as the first stage in a $750 million project to connect mobile masts in a swath of countries within 45 degrees of the equator to fast broadband networks, according to a Sept. 9 announcement by Thales.
The system, which is receiving financial backing and operational support from Google Inc., Liberty Global Inc. and HSBC Principal Investments, will reduce bandwidth costs for telecommunications operators and Internet service providers by allowing direct connection to core networks and 3G cellular and WiMax towers, O3b said.
Production of the initial constellation of 16 satellites is underway. The complete system will include 2,133 transponder equivalents delivering low-latency Internet backhaul at speeds up to 10 gigabits per second. Service activation is scheduled for late 2010.