sábado, 6 de julho de 2013

O3B eyes opportunities to extend broadband to Brazil's remote areas

BNamericas - 05/07/2013

Global satellite service provider O3B is eyeing opportunities to cover internet blind spots in the Amazon region and other remote areas in Brazil, said commercial director for Brazil Paulo Berlinsky.

The company has successfully launched the first four satellites for a project to provide fast and cheap broadband to billions of people in emerging markets. The launch took place at the end of June in French Guyana.

Speaking at the Broadband Latin America forum in São Paulo, Berlinsky said that satellites are an "obvious" option for remote areas, but emphasized that most of the current geostationary equipment faces latency problems when flying in higher orbits.

"By developing the idea to fly at 8,000km, we brought the satellite closer to earth and reduced latency. We are the fiber in the sky," he said, estimating that the latency was reduced to as low as 130 milliseconds. O3B's satellites operate in the high-frequency Ka-band.

According to Berlinsky, the company is financially backed by HSBC and Google, among others.

Brazilian media source Convergência Digital has reported that O3B has already closed a first contract in Brazil. The deal was allegedly inked with Ozônio Telecomunicações, a multimedia company based in the Amazonas state capital of Manaus.

The operation is expected to begin in November and the contract has a reported value of US$20mn.

The executive said partnerships may be formed with Brazilian state-run telco Telebras, which is responsible for the infrastructure supporting the country's broadband plan PNBL.


Telebras also has a satellite company. It is a JV called Visiona formed with Brazilian plane manufacturer Embraer. The JV received the green light from antitrust body Cade late last year.

Visiona will be responsible for the management of SGB, the country's first geostationary satellite program. The 10 geostationary satellites currently owned by Brazil were imported either from US or European companies.

The program will focus on improving broadband coverage through PNBL to reach remote and rural areas in Brazil. It will also focus on strategic defense, namely border control, and monitoring of the Amazon rainforest and the country's pre-salt oil fields.

At the same event, Telebras head Caio Bonilha said that Visiona will provide the federal government with the analyses of three shortlisted potential partner companies for the initiative by the end of July.

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