An update on our investment in O3b Networks

About two years ago we announced an initial investment in O3b Networks, whose mission is to bring affordable, high-speed Internet access to emerging markets via satellite. Earlier today O3b announced that it has wrapped up its final funding round before launch, and is planning to launch its first eight satellites in early 2013.

O3b stands for the “other 3 billion” – nearly half the world’s population for whom Internet access is scarce and expensive. In remote and developing areas where fiber is unavailable, users rely on slow and often costly satellite connections. To help solve this problem, O3b is planning to launch a constellation of medium-orbit satellites, providing users across 150 countries with high-speed Internet connectivity. These satellites will be four times closer to the Earth than regular geostationary satellites, meaning much faster speeds and a better experience for users.

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful, and so we were early supporters of O3b. We’re glad that O3b is now fully funded to build, launch, and operate its first satellites – and remain excited about this project’s potential to bring the benefits of high-speed Internet access to billions of people for the first time.