Over three billion people in the world do not have access to the internet. This statistic is where the company O3b Networks got its name, the "other 3 billion", and idea to help create global access to the internet through satellite internet. With the support of Google, the bank HSBC, and the cable operator Liberty Global, they have been trying to develop a plan to offer cheap, high speed internet access to millions of people in the more remote markets of the world like Africa. The network of satellites should be constructed and in place by the end of the year 2010, offering internet access to individuals all the way from Spain to South Africa, the South Pacific Islands, many parts of Asia, and the majority of South America.
This plan intends to place satellites into orbit at lower altitudes so that there will be less delay between the request for information and receiving it. This is not just a purely philanthropic venture; the companies that are backing the plan are doing so in an effort to reach new, untapped markets. If satellite internet service becomes as popular as mobile phone service has then they will have many more potential clients. This widespread network of internet access will also include telecommunications services that will be for sale to businesses and individuals alike.
The desire is that once people have been exposed to the fascinating worldwide web that they will want to subscribe for better connection as well as other features. Small businesses that finally enjoy internet access can see the opportunity for growth and expansion, sparking an interest in seeking out internet providers that can offer more features and services that could benefit the business. Widespread satellite internet access can connect people all over the world, opening doors for educational and professional opportunities.
Allowing people from rural Africa and South America the chance to learn about one another and perhaps interact is a great way to spread knowledge as well as bulk up the appeal of internet access. Over the years cell phones have become practically essential items that nearly everyone has, even if they live out in the sticks. The distribution of satellite internet through this project hopes to achieve the same level of popularity and sense of necessity that is enjoyed by mobile phone service providers.
While this is essentially a business venture, the means to an end that are being produced benefit a large amount and variety of people. Having access to the internet for the first time will open up the eyes and minds of a lot of people. Being able to browse the web and learn about different parts of the world will help broaden the perspectives and ambitions of people living in rural places. Making affordable and fast satellite internet available to the widespread masses will have both a powerful and important impact on the global population. Even if it is one computer, in one town, those few people who have access to the internet will benefit from the opportunity.