O3b is helping millions get closer

O3b is making the dream of reliable voice and high-speed internet a reality for millions worldwide who are underserved by their local infrastructure.With its core mission never far from mind – just check out the company name - O3b is not focussed on the world’s well-served communications markets. O3b is all about helping the “other three billion” people, some of which suffer from poor internet connections and unreliable voice services. O3b aims to help everyone on Earth between 45º north and south of the equator get online.

Why MEO?

What makes O3b different is that its satellites orbit at 8,062km – Medium Earth Orbit – four times closer to planet Earth than traditional GEO spacecraft fly. The result is reduced delay, or latency, for voice and data traffic.“MEO is the sweet spot,” says O3b’s CEO Steve Collar. “It offers wide coverage and low latency, but also allows us to drive down the cost per megabit to the customer as we can provide global coverage with only eight satellites.”

Customers everywhere are turning on to O3b

In July, the world’s newest nation got on board with O3b. RCS-Communication is the biggest ISP in the Republic of South Sudan. In Juba, the capital, there is no fibre. Company head Flippie Odendal explains: “Our WiMAX network in Juba connects to the Internet backbone via [GEO] satellite solutions which are reliable, but {have} latency challenges.”

“O3b brings something new […] that uniquely addresses this limitation. O3b will enable us to offer higher speeds and a more responsive user experience."

Staying connected at sea and on land

The Cook Islands in the Pacific also has no fibre. “Undersea fibre was just too expensive for such a small population,” says Jules Maher, Telecom Cook Islands CEO. “[With O3b] one beam will cover 90% of our population – and it really opens us up to computing in the cloud.

Hand in hand with SES

SES owns part of O3b and provides engineering and commercial support. In this case, investing was seen as plain good sense. Demand in Africa, Middle East and other emerging markets has mushroomed despite economic woes in the rest of the world. O3b will meet that demand. The pair have even teamed up to help customers. Papua New Guinea’s Digicel will combine C-band capacity on NSS-9 with O3b’s trunk service to deliver high-quality voice and high-speed mobile data.

By delivering bandwidth that is fast, affordable and everywhere, thanks to O3b the entire ‘underconnected’ regions can get online, and enjoy the economic and social benefits that brings.

“O3b’s positioning perfectly meets our vision of bringing people closer together through the power of satellites”, says SES CEO Romain Bausch

“We are excited to support this next-generation infrastructure initiative, and to help O3b make their vision – and ours – a reality.”