AN interesting battle of sorts is taking place in the small telecommunication market of Kiribati in the northern Pacific; Fijian owned ATH Kiribati Telecom taking on the might of global telecom conglomerate 03b Networks. The former users the conventional transmission platforms of submarine fibre optics for its international communication and transmission lines and towers for the domestic market, the latter, whose headquarters is at St Helier, in the English Channel, relies on low orbiting satellites.
“O3b has been highly successful in serving the Pacific Islands,” says Vicki Warker, Vice President Marketing of the global company. “It was the first market where we launched commercials services and to date we have over 6 Gbps of contracted capacity. The O3b constellation is scalable. Twelve (12) satellites are in orbit. The last batch of four (4) satellites was launched in December 2014. “O3b is planning to launch an additional 8 satellites in 2017-2018 to support the demand for low latency satellite services.
The O3b constellation is not limited to twelve (12) satellites. More satellites will be launched as demand requires. Additional satellites will not only increase the capacity of the O3b system but also substantially increase the efficiency of the O3b system.” Warker observed satellites have been used in the Pacific for years. But she felt changes in technology is fuelling the rapid growth of 03b Networks in the islands, especially given the fact that data applications today are “media rich and usually cloud based.”
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