& cplSiteName &

Google-Backed Satellite Startup Secures $1.2B

Michelle Donegan
News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
11/29/2010

O3b Networks Ltd. , the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)-backed satellite backhaul startup, has completed its final round of funding before service launch in 2013, bringing the total amount the venture has raised to $1.2 billion.

O3b (which stands for the "other 3 billion") has secured $770 million in debt financing and $410 million in equity investments from banks and investors including Google, SES S.A. (Paris: SESG), HSBC Holdings plc , ING Group , the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, and International Finance Corp.

O3b said that it is now fully funded to launch its first eight medium earth orbit Ka-band satellites and to start offering transmission services to ISPs and telecom operators in the first half of 2013. (See Google Backs Backhaul Startup.)

Why this matters
When O3b started in 2008, the company's original plan was to launch the satellites and services by the end of this year. Even though the company has delayed its launch by almost three years, it has still managed to raise an impressive amount of funding during a difficult and challenging period for the global economy.

O3b's model for connecting the "other 3 billion" -- which refers to nearly half of the world's population that does not have adequate broadband access -- is compelling as well.

Rather than trying to serve those customers directly, O3b is providing the transmission capacity to ISPs, mobile operators, and telcos that will connect their access networks to their core networks and the Internet. The company claims its satellites will cover 70 percent of the world's population.

Google's involvement in O3b is also interesting because the project is one of the Internet giant's infrastructure activities, which have included femtocells, dark fiber, and undersea cables. (See UbiquiSys Gets Google Boost, Google Builds Undersea Cable, and Google: Dark Fiber Story Not So Dark .)

For more
Check out these stories for background on O3b's progress since it started in 2008, and Google's infrastructure investments:



— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

(11)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
chechaco
chechaco
12/5/2012 | 4:17:24 PM
re: Google-Backed Satellite Startup Secures $1.2B


Do I hear Teledisic 2.0? Let's see how much Google-lead team is better than what Graig McCaw, Paul Allen, and Bill Gates managed to put together. Frankly, it should be easy to beat one satellite put in the orbit. Routing among mobile platforms, unless you're on geosynchronous orbit with much bigger latency, and antennas on the ground an interesting task. So far nothing that came from Google indicates that they're up to the challenge. Though there's always the first time for everything.

spc_markl
spc_markl
12/5/2012 | 4:17:22 PM
re: Google-Backed Satellite Startup Secures $1.2B


I am talking about in terms of network construction.


Mark

chechaco
chechaco
12/5/2012 | 4:17:22 PM
re: Google-Backed Satellite Startup Secures $1.2B


If quality and performance metrics were determined not by customers but by vendors themselves what a wonderful  world it would be!

spc_markl
spc_markl
12/5/2012 | 4:17:22 PM
re: Google-Backed Satellite Startup Secures $1.2B


Can you give me various examples in which Google was not "up to the challenge" in meeting its own expectations -- and not what people on the outside perceived them to be?


Mark

paolo.franzoi
paolo.franzoi
12/5/2012 | 4:17:21 PM
re: Google-Backed Satellite Startup Secures $1.2B


Wi-Fi network in SF.  Just sayin....


 


seven


 

spc_markl
spc_markl
12/5/2012 | 4:17:20 PM
re: Google-Backed Satellite Startup Secures $1.2B


Dear chechaco,


Respectfully, I think the latter is being discussed.


Mark

chechaco
chechaco
12/5/2012 | 4:17:20 PM
re: Google-Backed Satellite Startup Secures $1.2B


Dear Mark,


I differentiate between developing networking gear and architecting and operating network itself. Google's work in the former, if exists, is very company internal and not exposed to the market. The latter area is not in the scope of this article.

paolo.franzoi
paolo.franzoi
12/5/2012 | 4:17:19 PM
re: Google-Backed Satellite Startup Secures $1.2B


 


Mark wrote:


"Can you give me various examples in which Google was not "up to the challenge" in meeting its own expectations -- and not what people on the outside perceived them to be?"


All I was doing.  The only example of a large public actual network (not a giant enterprise network on its own) was the equivalent of The Hindenburg.  Yes, Google had an Epic Fail.  I am not saying that everything they will do is a failure, but they have yet to demonstrate a single example of a large public network buildout that they have done.  It is a completely different thing than what they do.


I have had many employers who had great WiFi networks.


seven


 


 


 

spc_markl
spc_markl
12/5/2012 | 4:17:19 PM
re: Google-Backed Satellite Startup Secures $1.2B


seven,


You may disagree with me, but just as with other network projects, the main goal for Google and Wi-Fi was not to get into the networking business (Google looking at Verizon's FiOS is a totally separate matter.)  It is to be limited in scope.  The main benefit is potentially showing the way, to facilitate competition, to help to enable technology -- all for the purpose of getting more traffic into the cloud to sell more ads.  Plus, I believe the main benefit was to have a good Wi-Fi network for the headquarters of Google.


Mark

spc_markl
spc_markl
12/5/2012 | 4:17:05 PM
re: Google-Backed Satellite Startup Secures $1.2B


tera,


I appreciate the clarification very much.  I will acknowledge to you and to seven now that it was pretty much a failure even from Google's point of view.


I am not making any excuses, but in fairness to Google, how many muni WiFi networks have succeeded?  The company gave it a try and it was just a drop in the bucket in terms of cash -- as are most, if not all, of its other network projects.


As far as Clearwire is concerned, wrongly or rightly, I think Google has lost faith in the company.


Knowing the excruciating cost analysis that is conducted by Google, I am sure it looked at Iridium -- but it is still possible the company made the incorrect decision.


Mark


 

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Featured Video
Upcoming Live Events
October 22, 2019, Los Angeles, CA
November 5, 2019, London, England
November 7, 2019, London, UK
November 14, 2019, Maritim Hotel, Berlin
December 3-5, 2019, Vienna, Austria
December 3, 2019, New York, New York
March 16-18, 2020, Embassy Suites, Denver, Colorado
May 18-20, 2020, Irving Convention Center, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events