I admit, I’m a little confused.

Yesterday Google, HSBC bank and Liberty Global cable company launched O3b Networks (which stands for “other 3 billion”), a satellite service to bring high-speed low-cost internet connections to the world’s poorest people starting in 2010 – many of them in Africa.

On the Google Africa blog, they state:

O3b plans to deliver fiber-like Internet backhaul service using a constellation of medium-orbit satellites. This means data can be quickly transmitted to and from even the most remote locations such as inland Africa or small Pacific islands. The O3b satellite constellation will provide high-speed, low-latency backhaul services at speeds reaching into the gigabits per second.

The Good

This is the type of technology chess move that makes me sit back and truly laugh out loud. It bypasses inefficient, greedy or corrupt government bureaucracies and gives power to the local people. I’m absolutely thrilled with it and wish them the best of luck – hoping that they can execute on the deployment.

The Confusion…

The founder of O3b is a certain Greg Wyler. You know, the guy behind the big “wiring of Rwanda” initiative with his company Terracom. Well, his record hasn’t been stellar, and so I wonder why he is leading this whole initiative?

It might very well be that they’ve learned their lessons from Rwanda. I’d rather have a guy who has tried and failed and LEARNED from it, than some wide-eyed idealist. Let’s hope that’s the case here.