When we authored an editorial on Lightsquared - Satellite based wireless broadband service, we spoke about operators looking up the sky for answers. It seems more and more gods are appearing on the sky to grant wishes and boons! O3B is one such god :) O3B is a next-generation wireless network service provider using satellites. O3B is infact constructing the world's first medium earth orbit satellite constellation. What this essentially means is that there will be a group of satellites working together circling around earth at approximately 20,000 - 30,000 kms above sea level. The satellites would be positioned in such a way that collectively they cover as much geographical space as possible without interfering with each other. There are many other satellite constellations above the earth. Some of them are GPS (Global positioning system), Iridium, Globalstar, Geodesy, RapidEye, Telstra, Teledesic and Orbcomm. These satellites provides network connectivity with low latency. So, the data transmission time comes down from 500 milliseconds to under 100 milli seconds! In addition, it is possible to achieve data transfer rate of upto 10 Gbps!
O3B will offer 3-4 times the capacity of those offered by GEO-stationery satellite systems due to their proximity to earth. This enables a fibre-like broadband/wireless experience! Just like Lightsquared, O3B will reduce the operational and capital expenditures for wireless operators across the world. The satellite-based mobile backhaul service offered by O3B covers more than 150 countries across all major continents. O3b Networks delivers broadband connectivity everywhere on Earth within 45 degrees of latitude north and south of the equator. The coverage includes more of the emerging markets including latin american, african and middle-east asian countries with a collective population of 3 billion. Hence the name 'Other 3 billion' (O3B)!
O3B was founded in 2007 by Greg Wyler and is financially backed by HSBC Principal investments, Google, SES World skies, Northbridge venture partners among others. Recently O3B announced about its successful fund-raising of $1.2 billion from investors and banks.
O3B is currently building the infrastructure and customers world-wide are pre-booking the available capacity. Few examples include Nigerian telecom giant Netcom Africa and Pakistani telecom giant Pak Datacom. Both of them have signed multi-year multi-million dollar deals to secure super-fast low-latency broadband solutions to offshore platforms, ships on the oceans and local markets. O3B will be fully operational in 2012.
It is this kind of ventures which makes us look forward to the future with hope and excitement!
A comparison between quality of network connections through Fibre cables, Microwave base stations, Geo-Satellites and O3B satellites is nicely illustrated in this 4x4 grid. O3B clearly stands out!
O3B Demo Video
Greg Wylers talk about O3B
Roll over to 5minutes 30 seconds to see live demo of latency difference!
Satellite construction video
Smartphones have become a necessity in today's digital age. Be it browsing the web or connecting with you...