Google-backed start-up launches low-orbit Internet satellites

A Google-backed start-up successfully launched four satellites into orbit last night that it claims will bring high-speed Internet connections to poorly connected countries across the globe.

O3b Networks' satellites are suspended in a lower orbit that conventional communications satellites, at just 8,000 kilometers above the surface of the Earth. This means they can offer lower latency connections, the company claims.

Four satellites were successfullly launched from French Guyana last night, after a day's delay due to bad weather. 

So far, the company has won contracts with telcos in countries include Liberia and Malaysia. Services based on O3b's satellite infrastructure will come online in November. 

The company aims to launch four more satellites later this year and another four next year. O3b says it will then be able to provide services to 180 countries around the world. 

The name O3b stands for “over three billion” and refers to the number of people who it expects will benefit from improved connections over the next decade.

The company's investors include Google, Virgin Media-owner Liberty Global and HSBC. It has so far raised a total of $1.3 billion in investment.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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