IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has led a group of development institutions in providing $260 million in financing to help O3b Networks Ltd complete a satellite system that will provide affordable broadband access to developing countries near the equator. O3b, which stands for the “other 3 billion,” refers to the nearly half of the world’s population that is not adequately served with broadband internet access.
Affordable high_speed broadband access provides people and businesses the opportunity to connect with each other, innovate, and grow their economies. O3b will use eight satellites that circle the equator and provide broadband services for developing countries 45 degrees latitude north and south of the equator.
The satellites will serve countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and South America that have insufficient connectivity because of geographic obstacles or the high cost of alternative means of connectivity.
“O3b is a fantastic venture that is bringing together private equity and funding from some of the world’s most important developmental institutions to connect people in developing nations to the internet,” said Mark Rigolle, CEO of O3b Networks.