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On June 25th, O3B Networks successfully launched 4 of its satellites into orbit. It hopes to have the full complement of 8 satellites in space by the end of the year.

Successfully launched on June 25th

Successfully launched on June 25th

This marks a huge accomplishment.

You can watch the Youtube clip of the launch here.

A blog post on the company website provides further detail on upcoming activities. First up for the

satellites:

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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.

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Two days ago, this site featured a write-up of a Spaceflight Now article that made several claims about O3b Networks. I received an email from O3b Networks CEO, Greg Wyler, where he clarified aspects of the original article.

Since any negativity, even in this remote and barren part of the blogosphere, could possibly have an impact on the fate of O3b Networks, I have decided to delete my previous post. O3b’s efforts are critical to improving the connectivity situation for the Pacific Islands and if this blog played some role in hindering their efforts, then I could not have that hanging on my conscience as I have a great deal of respect for what Greg and his crew are trying to accomplish.

You will not find those assertions repeated on this site, but if you are interested to know, you can follow the link to the Spaceflight Now article.

The response from Greg Wyler, via email:

O3b Networks secured an alternative launch vehicle well before the bankruptcy filing due to Sea Launches inability to meet its contractual obligations. The statements attributed to Sea Launch are not accurate so we cannot comment on why they said them.

Again from Greg, on the alleged downsizing of the O3b satellite fleet:

The O3b Networks system has a scalable fleet based on demand, and customer contracts have exceeded projections every quarter. For instance at the end of Q2 we posted approximately 571m of backlog which is significantly above plan and demonstrates the absolute need for low cost, low latency backhaul.

For now, it appears the launch is on track and will allow O3b to launch service as scheduled, by late 2010. With demand for O3b’s services greater than anticipated, the launch of the 2nd set of 8 satellites also looks like it will become reality. With a constellation of 16 satellites, O3b Networks will provide low-cost, low-latency backhaul service for developing countries that right now have no access to such service.

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