Wednesday, February 23, 2011

O3b Networks: Connecting the Unconnected

Communications have not been the same since the appearance of internet. From its beginnings in the 80s, internet has developed to be the most accessible and popular way to connect big numbers of people from every corner of the World almost instantly. It has also decisively influenced every part of our lives, from job search to vocabulary. But there is tail for this face of the coin: out of 6.9 billion people living today, less than 2 billion use internet, and most of them can be found in the First World. So, there are almost 5 billion people with very limited or no access to the web. This means that more than two thirds of the population simply cannot participate in the fluxes that motion what has been called "the Information Age".

But there is a company that has decided to skip this massive cleavage. O3b (other 3 billion) Networks aims to wide open the "information highway" for one half of the World's population. By a combination of fiber cable and a new generation of satellites, O3b Networks will provide an affordable internet connection to more than 150 countries, concentrating in insufficiently connected areas like South America, Africa, Middle East, Asia or the Pacific and overcoming traditional obstacles for information flows like geography, economics or political instability. If this initiative achieves its declared goals, the new opportunities for the countries and human beings favored by it will be almost unlimited.

In the words of O3b founder, Greg Wyler: "We will enable individuals, families, communities and nations to enrich their quality of life through greater interactivity with the global community. O3b will accomplish this mission by reducing core and access transmission costs through the deployment of a groundbreaking, next-generation satellite constellation that enables operators to offer easier, faster and more affordable connectivity to their customers, profitably and therefore sustainably." With a cooperative, fresh, and responsible attitude, and trying to involve as many actors as possible (from population to PC manufacturers, from local communication companies to governments) Ob3 Networks sets an example of how companies can find enormous opportunities in international development and the battle against poverty.

- David Nebreda

SOURCE: O3b Networks