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Broadband satellite eyes cable's space

Posted: 16 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Loring Wirbel? EE Times? Inmarsat Global Ltd? Inmarsat-4 geostationary satellite? broadband Internet service?

Inmarsat Global Ltd is leveraging its Inmarsat-4 geostationary satellite to offer a broadband Internet service that competes directly with cable and DSL. The Broadband Global Area Network service uses a personal modem ranging in size from 2.2lbs to 6lbs, along with a flat-panel satellite receiver that's only slightly larger than the modem itself.

Frank August, North America regional manager for Inmarsat, said BGAN's primary market is in realms like geophysical exploration, but he predicted that BGAN will rapidly reach the point of competing directly with wireline broadband services.

Inmarsat has invested $1.5 billion in the three I-4 satellites. The two currently in orbit cover the entire landmass except eastern Australia, New Zealand and parts of northeastern Russia. A third satellite will complete the coverage.

Delays inherent to geostationary satellites have been partially reconciled with higher-layer acceleration protocols for the uplink, August said. That allows the network to launch services such as video streaming and virtual private networks. The portable user platform and satellite system allow Internet Protocol connectivity and a satellite-based phone call to be conducted simultaneously.

- Loring Wirbel
EE Times

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