In written communication received last week by this blog, O3B Networks announced that the list price for their Quick Start service has been increased from $600/mbps to $750/mbps.

In light of the announcement on Southern Cross pricing by the Commerce Commission in Fiji, this seems like a poorly informed and poorly timed decision by the satellite backhaul service provider.

Previously, this site has praised O3B Networks as a solution to the Pacific’s broadband troubles. The price increase combined with the launch delay till 2012 or beyond, reveals a new direction O3B.

Under CEO Greg Wyler, O3b payed at least lip-service to social consciousness. But, now with more seasoned satellite industry insiders at the helm, the company has even less time to mouth empty slogans about the social benefit they are providing.

It’s too bad, because I have always thought they deserved the benefit of the doubt and would serve as a new model for other operators in the backhaul space. Instead, with their actions O3B is pretty much falling into line.

Their use of misinformation is especially troubling for Pacific nations, as many will be led to believe that satellite is the cheaper alternative, not pursuing cheaper alternative on the horizon–such as the SPIN cable. Far from doing good, their misinformation will hurt countries looking at investment options as they weigh out the true costs of satellite vs. cable.

For a company whose message is a level playing field for the world, their actions indicate a willingness to exploit those with the use of misinformation posing as marketing.

It’s a real shame that O3B chose not to stay true to their own messaging and branding. The backhaul space could have benefited from an operator with a conscience. Too bad, that player will not be O3B.

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