Google has gone into partnership with the ubiquitous cable magnate John Malone and the bank HSBC to give internet access to people in Africa and other nations via LEO satellites. Financial Times:

They will today announce an order for 16 low-earth orbit satellites from Thales Alenia Space, the French aerospace group, as the first stage in a $750m project to connect mobile masts in a swath of countries within 45 degrees of the equator to fast broadband networks.

Larry Alder, product manager in Google’s alternative access group, said the project could bring the cost of bandwidth in such markets down by 95 per cent. “This really fits into Google’s mission [to extend internet use] around the developing world,” he said.

The partners have so far injected about $20m each to raise $65m, including a smaller contribution from Allen & Company, the media advisory boutique.

OLPC and mobile devices with access via satellite to my blog? What’s not to love? 🙂
Wow it’s been years since I blogged about LEO – or was that on my old telco blog? Things move more slowly than one expects, sometimes. (New York Times link)