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Mourant Ozannes advises O3b on US$1.2bn space satellite system deal

Mourant Ozannes has advised O3b, a Jersey headquartered company, on a US$1.2 billion space satellite programme that will provide internet connectivity for developing markets around the world.

O3b stands for the 'Other 3 billion', a reference to nearly half of the world’s population that is not adequately served with broadband internet access due to the absence of a backbone of super-fast fibre-optic-cable connections in many regions.

Through partnerships with telecommunications and internet service providers, O3b’s technology will provide the speed of fibre optics with the reach of satellite, serving billions of end users around the world.

O3b’s satellites will be placed in orbit 8,000 kilometres from the earth, four times closer to the planet than regular geostationary satellites, providing access to approximately 70 per cent of the world’s population with fibre quality internet connectivity.

A collection of banks and investors, including HSBC and Google, have provided the money that O3b needs to launch the venture's first eight satellites.

These will be constructed at a manufacturing facility in Cannes, with the first platforms ready to go into orbit in the first half of 2013.

Mourant Ozannes is the sole Jersey legal adviser for the company and has provided legal advice for O3b since it began the project in 2008, including all Jersey aspects of O3b's US$1.2 billion fundraising.

Jonathan Walker, partner at Mourant Ozannes who acted on the deal, said:

"This has been described in the media as one of the 'most ambitious commercial space projects of the decade', and we are delighted to be the Jersey legal counsel for O3b. It is an exciting, innovative and far reaching project that will positively affect industry and the lives of people in emerging markets around the world."

Mark Rigolle, O3b Chief Executive, said:

"I am delighted that we are now fully funded and working towards a firm launch date. This news means that we are now truly on the map – our customers can be assured that O3b is a reality. Ever since Greg Wyler founded O3b in 2008, the company has enjoyed the support of a growing number of investors, customers and partners. This has allowed us to secure our funding and to achieve our goal of reaching the billions who have so far been poorly served or completely cut off from the internet – the greatest business and information resource of our time. For me personally, I have been truly encouraged to see the strong relationships O3b has built, and I am now looking forward to the next few years up to launch when we will be able to see a lot of hard work come to fruition."