Feeds

Google goes after 3 billion with super satellite

Hella lotta Gmail

Top three mobile application threats

Google has hooked up with Liberty Global and HSBC Principle Investments to start funding a satellite network aimed at connecting the three billion people who still can't get access to the internet, at least those living near the equator.

O3b, standing for the "Other 3 Billion", has raised $60m from Google, Liberty and HSBC. However, they'll need ten times that to fulfill the ambition of 16 satellites offering gigabitspeeds to service providers in central Africa and the Middle East, without the latency usually incurred in space-based internet access.

The initial phase will be half that number, and is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2010. Latency is reduced by putting the satellites in a low-earth orbit, less than a twentieth of a second away at light speed as opposed to the half second needed to reach geostationary orbit.

That does make for more complicated antennae, as they can't be pointed towards the satellite, but it makes the internet a great deal more usable. The satellites will be orbiting on the equator, which is why O3b only needs eight of them (strictly speaking, they only need five) and coverage will be limited to within 45 degrees - but much of the unconnected demographic lives around there anyway.

O3b plans to sell connectivity to local providers, who can then connect locals over 3G, WiMAX or even copper cables, using the O3b satellite connection as backhaul.

The companies already involved have reserved the right to provide the rest of the funding, according to the FT, though other backers may be brought in later.

Internet access over satellite has a poor record - the speed of deployment has often seen ground-based alternatives surpass orbiting connection speeds, and only geostationary services have had any commercial success at all. O3b isn't planning to cover the world, which simplifies things hugely, and its aggressive deployment schedule and targeted demographic means their service is unlikely to be supplanted by anything ground-based - so it just remains to be seen if the disconnected three billion really want high-speed data. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.