O3b launches its first satellites

O3b launches its first satellitesO3b Networks Ltd, a Jersey-based satellite communications company, launched its first four satellites.

The satellites, which will provide high speed, low cost connectivity to emerging markets including countries in MEA region, were launched aboard the Arianespace Soyuz launch vehicle from French Guiana.

A few hours after the launch, first contact was made with O3b’s gateway in Hawaii.

Customers witnessing the launch included Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, O3b’s first Maritime customer, Telecom Cook Islands, who will receive the first commercial signals across the network this summer and Maju Nusa, which is soon to roll out a 3G backhaul network in Malaysia built on O3b’s low latency capacity.

A second group of four O3b satellites will be launched in September, completing the first phase in O3b’s constellation and ahead of the launch of the company’s service later in the year.
The O3b system is scalable, designed to allow additional satellites to be launched and slotted into the system, increasing capacity as demand grows.

The network is designed for telecom operators, ISPs, enterprise and government customers in emerging markets.

John W Dick, O3b chairman, said that the launch signaled the beginning of “a life-changing journey” for many of the remaining unconnected and underserved regions of the world.
In only a few years, we have designed and launched a revolutionary system; one that will transform the way communications are handled in many of the world’s underserved markets. Working with our customers, O3b will open up a new and exciting world to billions of people who, up to now, have not experienced the benefits of fast Internet connectivity and who, as a result, are not on a level playing field.”