Posted by: ahassan | 09/09//0808

Google backs Africa broadband

Today, O3b Networks announced plans to launch 16 satelites that will connect Africa, the Middle East and parts of Latin America to the internet. The project is backed by Google, Liberty Global and HSBC and is expected to cost around $750 million and so far has managed to raise only $65 million. The three lead backers in O3b Networks reserve the right to contribute further to the estimated $150 to $180 million of financing in equity financing that will be needed for the project – the remainder will be financed through debt. O3b stands for the “Other 3  billion”.

This is a really goods news for the developing countries because it means that they have access to information and can benifit from it in many ways. The technology is not new but the service will cost up to 95% less than what is available today.

I think this will be a especially good for Africa because so far, Africa makes up only 3.5% of the internet population and internet use has grown at a rate of 1,031.2 % (from 2000 to 2008) with Somalia having the highest growth rate.

What makes this news interesting is that Google is backing this initiative – indicating that it wants to increase the internet population so that it can benifit from it. A win-win situation.

However, the worrying thing is that this service will be resold to users by ISPs so users could get ripped off. Or even worse, the service might be delivered with a lot faults and limitations. But lets hope for the better.

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Responses

  1. I just heard this story on NPR. It actually sounds like a great idea to move away from cell towers and cabled broadband to satellites.

    As a marketing/advertising pro with a lot of years in high tech, this is something I could get into.

    If it works, and if African countries don’t bog it down, and if it’s not bogged down with over regulation elsewhere, it will be great for fast, speedy world communications.

  2. es importanteestaral dia con respuestas actuales
    a las nuevas millas tecnologicas pero me agradaria
    que amplien hacia donde se dirige el nuevo mercado
    de profesionales eneste servicio afinde mantenernos orentados en conocimientos

  3. […] and a few other companies have already took the initiative to develop high speed satelite broadband in Africa, which is a good […]

  4. Oh this looks great! Internet has further gone in the lives of most populations, the fact being losing internet makes life more harder!!!!!!!!!!! and a strong need for more companies that provide satellite broadband, i think o3b in this sense has more to achieve than to loose!!!!!


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