Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space The Internet

Satellites Providing Internet To the 'Under-Connected' 50

Posted by Soulskill
from the bring-cat-pictures-to-all-corners-of-the-world dept.
Taco Cowboy writes "Today, a Russian Soyuz rocket shot the first 4 of 12 satellites in a new constellation that are designed to provide affordable, high-speed Internet to people in nearly 180 'under-connected' countries. The orbiters, part of a project dubbed O3b for the 'other 3 billion' people with restricted Internet access, were built by the Franco-Italian company Thales Alenia Space. They will orbit at 8,062 km and will weigh only 650 kilogrammes (1,400 pounds) each. 'There are already geostationary satellites providing this type of services, but at a prohibitive cost for many end-users. Existing satellites generally obit at an altitude of some 36,000 kilometres (22,000 miles) above Earth, weigh in at a hefty four to six tonnes each, and take much longer to bounce a signal back to Earth—about 500 milliseconds to be exact, according to an O3b document. "It is such a long delay that people speaking over a satellite link will shorten conversations, interactive web has an extremely poor experience and many web-based software programmes just won't function." Crucially, they will communicate with Earth four times faster, said the company, and six would be enough to assure permanent coverage. "O3b's prices will be 30 — 50 percent less than traditional satellite services," said the document. ... Launch company Arianespace, which will put the satellites in orbit, said the O3b constellation will combine "the global reach of satellite coverage with the speed of a fiber-optic network." ... The next four satellites will be launched within weeks, according to Arianespace, and a final four "backup" orbiters early next year.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Satellites Providing Internet To the 'Under-Connected'

Comments Filter:
  • by Camael (1048726) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @10:21PM (#44108665)

    Here's another similar plan hatched by a Canadian company [phys.org] .

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Jmc23 (2353706)
      Similiar? Like how the canadians can launch 3.5x the satellites? Or that there are 10x more? Or how O3B is at an orbit 5x higher? Or how the canadians have more coverage and lower latency?

      Or, wait, now I get it. Satellites right?

    • From the link:

      The COMMStellation network would relieve the strain by providing much-needed “backhaul” capacity to mobile networks around the world.

      Someone familiar with this needs to clarify - exactly - how a high-latency and unreliable (compared to fiber) network could be considered backhaul. They claim data rates of 12 Gbps per satellite, but what type of data do they intend to carry? Do they expect smartphones to be manufactured with satellite modems? Or is it common in other parts of the world to build an HSPA+/LTE tower fed by T1's?
      Call me skeptical, but both of these projects just seem to be round peg/square hole. A much more rel

      • by timeOday (582209)
        Not sure what you meant by HSPA+/LTE towers fed by T1's - did you mean fed by the satellite network? That is what I would assume they will do. The problem is there is no backbone to hook the towers to, right?
      • by Herve5 (879674)

        Backhaul is probably exagerated, but the idea behind sats is that, if you manage to deploy them all, then their worldwide coverage allows you to reach way more customers than just 'your rural area'.
        Indeed in O3B the B is for "billions", and these billions are not only "our other, poorer brothers" -they are actual billions of customers. Billions like in $Bn...
        So, yes, having a space constellation is more efficient than just deploying lots of fibers locally, at least financially.

        BUT there is a trick: I said a

    • I'd be hesitant to believe anything from O3b after they demanded a ban on National Broadband Network satellites here in Australia. They are an hostile company doing this to exploit people in a monopoly environment, not aid them.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I'd be hesitant to believe anything from O3b after they demanded a ban on National Broadband Network satellites here in Australia. They are an hostile company doing this to exploit people in a monopoly environment, not aid them.

        Given that you only need to get about 50km outside of the cities and main highways in Australia before you're completely screwed for Cable or DSL internet access, I'm rather glad they are providing satellite coverage to Australia. Anything to shove it up Telstra's arse and stop them charging over-the-top prices for shitty satellite connections with measly 5GB/month caps. Fuck you, Telstra!

  • Satellites Providing Internet.. man That's So Cool.. Wish our country would able to get that service ..
  • by PPH (736903) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @10:43PM (#44108789)

    ... no one can hear your investors scream.

    Teledesic [wikipedia.org], Iridium [wikipedia.org], Globalstar [wikipedia.org], Orbcomm [wikipedia.org]

    • by JMJimmy (2036122)

      Or highly successful ones like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telesat [wikipedia.org]

    • Re:In space ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by stephanruby (542433) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @01:44AM (#44109535)

      ... no one can hear your investors scream.

      The private investors are just the public face of this venture.

      Their accounts receivables are insured against loss by the French government. This is a way for the French government to partially subsidize its own aerospace industry (in this case, the satellites are made by a French and an Italian joint effort), and at the same it's a way to control which war lords/governments in Congo, Ivory Coast, Mali, or Syria get free satellite internet access, and which war lords/governments in those parts of the world do not.

      In other words, this infrastructure is a way to buy yourself some influence in those parts of the world (where French influence has been slowly shrinking otherwise).

      • by Herve5 (879674)

        Let's not exagerate.
        French government indeed probably helped its industry through an export insurance scheme that somehow, in certain conditions, will allow Thales (the sat builder) not to die if the exchange rate become very wrong -but that's all they did, and the US are doing exactly the same now (they just started this kind of change insurance trick after France)

        So, "yes and no": yes French gov.t (like now the US) found a way to insure export change rates, which helped Thales winning the O3B contract her

    • ... no one can hear your investors scream.

      Teledesic [wikipedia.org], Iridium [wikipedia.org], Globalstar [wikipedia.org], Orbcomm [wikipedia.org]

      If God wanted us to communicate via satellites, he'd give us faster photons.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Hmm... since when do we use lasers for uplink/downlink?

        • Why would you use lasers when you have microwaves?
        • I'm pretty sure he was referring to latency due to speed of light limitations. Satellite internet has very high latency, and there is no fixing it. 22,000 miles up, then 22,500 miles down
  • by sgt scrub (869860) <saintium@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @11:49PM (#44109115)

    I was wondering when bandwidth would be available to those of us that live south of downtown.

    • Yes, those of us in the third world (Canada) may actually be able to view Youtube soon.
      • Yes, those of us in the third world (Canada) may actually be able to view Youtube soon.

        Too far norh.

        This is for the other 3 billion.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Do the "Other Three Billion" really not have TV and radio? It seems like it'd be a lot more reliable to license space at existing antenna sites. Yeah you have to visit a lot of mountains and towers; but the whole thing isn't riding on a few space shots, and local companies could do it for you then you just grow by acquiring the local companies. I knew a guy who was doing this in rural Maryland. It's called a WISP. He did it for a few $100 to cover a few dozen people. It might have even made a small p

    • by duiwel (1758406)
      I work for a bit of a larger WISP then what your friend was doing. The business model and technology we use would be great in third world countries. WISPs have been around for a good chunk of time now, so there's a lot of tech around from the first couple generations of equipment that affordable and well documented. And you don't even need an established antenna site, there are tons of military surplus and commercial mobile tower rigs out there.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Google is trying something similar. Not from space though, but the stratosphere. Project Loon www.google.com/loon.

  • Today, a Russian Soyuz rocket shot the first 4 of 12 satellites

    Well that's not a good start. Unless, of course, you meant "launched."

    They will orbit at 8,062 km and will weigh only 650 kilogrammes

    Science fail!

    about 500 milliseconds to be exact

    Well, which is it? About 500ms or exactly 500ms?

    • "shot" is an acceptable synonym for launch, so that's a fail. The other two qualify as pedantry though.
    • about 500 milliseconds to be exact

      Well, which is it? About 500ms or exactly 500ms?

      In generally accepted technical use (at least around where I live), a number in the form of 500 with no further info usually means "any x for 499.5<x<500.5". They probably should have said "half a second". The absolute lower limit is about a quarter of a second (due to the speed of light in vacuum and the altitude of geostationary satellites), but there are obviously some delays dictated by the design of the onboard systems (packet switching costs). However, that only applies to both endpoints visible

  • Latency (Score:4, Informative)

    by wbr1 (2538558) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @08:36AM (#44111511)
    In theory round trip latency should be 53ms. ( (8062km *1000) / 299792.458 = 26.8ms one way). That is almost a factor of 10 better than current satellite offerings. It may even make games playable.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Maybe. But it sounds like you will be switching between satellites constantly. Hope they work it out so it happens seamlessly. Otherwise, game playing and VPNs will suffer.

  • I actually RTFA and couldn't find a list of the "180 under connected countries" but as a satellite internet customer for several years the US should be on the list.

    My Stats: ~900 ms latancy, 1.5 MBit, daily cap of 300 MB download, all for 3x the price of the lowest cable or DSL plan not available in my area.

    It's amazing how all the telecom companies talk about providing great service until you live a mile and a half down a dead end road they have no plan to ever run lines down (Cable), or you are too far f

The typical page layout program is nothing more than an electronic light table for cutting and pasting documents.

Working...