Google-Backed Satellite Venture To Bring Web Access To 3 billion

Google is spread-betting on a wide range of technologies to deliver the net to the billions of potential netizens across the globe; after their self-running wave-powered Datacentres and trans-oceanic cabling, Google is now investing in Satellite Technology.

The search engine giant has invested in O3b Networks Ltd which is planning to send 16 satellites into space in the next 24 months to cover the booming markets - jumping by 50 percent annually - of Africa, Oceania, South America and the Middle East.

Google's interest lies in the fact that the technology could cut the cost of high speed internet by 90 percent and fuel an even bigger growth in poorer countries - ahead of the launch of its mobile platform, Android.

Because all the satellites will be orbiting the equator, in a low-earth orbit, latency will be around 80ms compared to 500ms in a geostationary orbit.

O3b has estimated the cost of deploying those satellites at USD 650 million and has already received around 10 percent from investors like HSBC Holdings PLC, Allen & Company, and Liberty Global Inc, with a huge chunk (roughly 70 percent) coming from debt markets.

The startup will act like a wholesaler for local telecom companies which will use their own networks (wired or wireless) to serve their local customers.