[Satnews] O3b Networks and SpeedCast International Limited (ASX: SDA) have announced an agreement to provide connectivity over the innovative O3b satellite network. The service will be provided to consumers, businesses and government customers by Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (Kiribati) Limited (ATHKL), a subsidiary of Amalgamated Telecom Holdings of Fiji.
The Republic of Kiribati has a population of about 100,000 living on 33 atolls and islands, across 3.5 million square km of ocean. O3b is the ideal solution, as the dispersed geography makes laying undersea fiber cables unreasonably expensive and time-consuming. Existing geostationary (GEO) satellites can’t match the O3b network’s high throughput and low latency, which is necessary for modern e-commerce, e-government, e-education and e-Health applications.
Kiribati is in the final stages of testing the O3b link, and will first deploy the service to Tarawa, the largest island in the country. The multi-year agreement provides flexibility to expand capacity where required, to ensure ATHKL can provide high performance connectivity for HD video, e-commerce, online education, or cloud services.
O3b’s Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites orbit at 8,062km above the Earth and have a latency of less than 150 msec—25 percent that of the geostationary (GEO) satellite systems connecting Kiribati. The switch to the lower latency, higher throughput O3b service will transform the island nation providing connectivity equivalent to long-haul fiber, while avoiding the exorbitant cost of laying an undersea cable to the island.
“SpeedCast is happy to partner with ATHKL and O3b to quickly and cost-effectively provide the people of Kiribati cutting-edge technology, enabling economic growth and access to all forms of e-commerce, education and health,” said Pierre-Jean Beylier, CEO of SpeedCast. “ATHKL will first bring their world class internet connectivity to the people of Tarawa, and, in time, to the rest of the country.”
“O3b and SpeedCast are delighted to support ATHKL in bringing Kiribati into a new era of connectivity,” said Imran Malik, VP Asia for O3b Networks. "With O3b’s high throughput and low latency connection, with value adds from SpeedCast, Kiribati is stepping into the future.”
This announcement follows the expansion of SpeedCast’s O3b-based infrastructure in the Pacific, with customers in Port Moresby and Lae, PNG; Christmas Island, Australia; and Solomon Islands, already benefiting from O3b’s high throughput low latency advantage .