O3b Networks, which counts Google amongst its shareholders, says it’s now ready to start building its satellite internet service having raised a total of $1.2 billion from a group of investors and banks.
The satellites are intended to deliver low latency, fibre-quality internet connectivity for developing markets.
Mark Rigolle, Chief Executive of O3b Networks Limited, said “I am delighted that we are now fully funded and working towards a firm launch date. This news means that we are now truly on the map – our customers can be assured that O3b is a reality. Ever since Greg Wyler founded O3b in 2008, the company has enjoyed the support of a growing number of investors, customers and partners. This has allowed us to secure our funding and to achieve our goal of reaching the billions who have so far been poorly served or completely cut off from the internet – the greatest business and information resource of our time. For me personally, I have been truly encouraged to see the strong relationships O3b has built, and I am now looking forward to the next few years up to launch when we will be able to see a lot of hard work come to fruition.”
O3b stands for the ‘other 3 billion’, the number of people worldwide who don’t have access to broadband internet services. The company’s satellites will be four times closer to the Earth than regular geostationary satellites, eight thousand kilometres from the planet, giving customers lower latency than would be delivered by a higher orbit. O3b plans to begin commercial service in partnership with telecoms operators and internet service providers during the first half of 2013.