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Communications system deployed for emerging markets

Posted: 11 Sep 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:communications infrastructure  Internet connectivity  bandwidth costs 

O3b Networks Ltd has announced it will begin deployment of a new global communications infrastructure to provide high-speed, low-cost Internet connectivity to emerging markets in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

Backed with financial and operational support from Google Inc., Liberty Global, Inc. and HSBC Principal Investments, the new system will reduce bandwidth costs for telecommunications operators (telcos) and Internet service providers (ISPs), enabling cost-effective voice and broadband services at speeds equivalent to those enjoyed in the developed world.

Developed nations, particularly in the northern hemisphere, are well served by an extensive submarine fibre network. The deployment of a fibre network in many developing markets is not commercially viable, let alone practical.

The O3b Networks system will offer fibre performance over satellite, at prices comparable to fibre in developed regions. By allowing direct connection to core networks and 3G Cellular/WiMAX towers, the system will completely change the economics of telecommunications infrastructure in the world's fastest-growing markets for communications services.

The rapid growth of telecommunications services in emerging markets demonstrates the demand as well as the commercial and social benefits available. In O3b Networks' target markets, where the deployment of high-capacity bandwidth is restricted due to geographic, economic or political barriers, the company's low-cost, low-latency Internet backhaul and 3G cellular backhaul services will allow telcos and ISPs to offer affordable, high-speed Internet access services – effectively bridging the digital divide between developed and emerging markets.

O3b Networks' operational and technical development is well underway. Production of the initial constellation of 16 satellites has begun. The system's 2,300 transponder equivalents will deliver low-latency Internet backhaul at speeds reaching 10 gigabits per second. Service activation is scheduled for late 2010. The scalable nature of the system allows for additional satellites to increase capacity and meet growing demand.

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