A Russian rocket lofted four satellites owned by Jersey-based O3b during the evening of July 10th. These four communications satellites will help provide satellite-based broadband to the ‘other 3 billion’ people who have either no Internet or inadequate service.
The satellites will also provide connectivity to smaller, more isolated national networks as well as serving the fast-expanding cruise and leisure industries. They are expected to start work on about September 1st.
O3b is backed by Luxembourg’s SES as well as well-known names such as Google and Liberty. SES has an option to take full control of the O3b business.
These latest four satellites, built by Thales Alenia, will orbit at 8,062 km (5,000 miles) above the Equator and join the existing four craft already at work. The final four out of the initial constellation of 12 craft will be launched early next year.
CEO Steve Collar said: “[the launch] is important because we’re a young company, and we’re delivering genuinely different services than everyone else,” Collar said. “There’s no one else that can provide the quality connection – the fibre-like performance – that we can deliver, and still retain the flexibility of satellites. For us, it’s very important to get the satellites up there, but it’s also very important for our customers who have been waiting patiently for the service, and have been for some time.”
“We have 12 satellites initially, but we can grow to more than 100,” Collar said. “The future is very bright, and we will only be limited by the market. For the time being, we don’t see any stop in the demand for broadband connectivity, so we’re going to keep launching satellites and keep deploying services for as long as there is demand.”