O3b's many investors include satellite operator SES, Google, and Liberty Global. It raised US$1.3 billion to cover the cost of building and launching the first 12 satellites and running the business until it becomes operational and starts to generate revenue. O3b has already signed deals with telecom providers and ISPs including Malaysian telecommunications provider Maju Nusa and West Africa Telecom in Liberia. It has also tied with Royal Caribbean Cruises to provide broadband access service to passengers on its cruise ship.
Google announced recently its Loon project which involves the use of a network of balloons floating in the stratosphere, around 20 kilometers above the earth's surface, to provide Internet service "to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters." Project Loon started in June with a pilot in New Zealand. People will connect to the Internet using a special antenna on top of buildings.