Satellite Repeaters: Grounded in Reality?

Posted by Sam Churchill on

ICO Global Communications today announced that the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has granted ICO’s request for milestone extensions in connection with the construction and launch of ICO G1, the company’s geostationary satellite for ICO North America.

ICO is building a next-generation satellite telephone service, combining both satellite and terrestrial communications capabilities, offering wireless voice, data, video, and Internet services on mobile and portable devices. ICO’s Geo satellite features a 12-meter unfurlable antenna that focuses the 2 GHz signals on North America. Craig McCaw is Chairman of ICO.

SkyTerra Communications simularly has FCC approval to utilize their 20 MHz of satellite spectrum on the ground through repeaters. Terrestrial towers, they believe, will enable smaller, cheaper satphones and allow reception inside cars and buildings.

Motient is the controlling shareholder of SkyTerra Communications and Mobile Satellite Ventures. They plan to build, own and operate North America’s first next-generation integrated mobile satellite and terrestrial communications network with a first-to-market launch strategy in 2008.

The two companies share the 40 Mhz Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) spectrum (20 Mhz apiece) but need to build-out their terrestrial repeater network.

Partnerships with AWS spectrum holders (such as the Sprint/Cable Partnership) or the proposed “free” M2Z proposal (using the 20 Mhz of spectrum between 2155-2175 MHz) could be possible.

That combination might provide local connections via satphone repeaters, cellular (AWS) or Mobile WiMAX (M2Z). The geosync satellite would provide global connectivity. It’s being pitched as a “homeland security” solution.

In other news, Cisco is vying to become a one-stop shop for rural telcos planning to offer IPTV, says Telephony Magazine.

Cisco announced a partnership this week with SES Americom, the satellite video provider that will supply rural telcos with prepackaged video content through a unique deal with the National Rural Telephone Cooperative. Cisco will act as a chief infrastructure supplier and integrator for customers of that offering.

The IP Prime service is expected to be available this summer to the NRTC’s 1200 members, which collectively serve about 30 million homes. Hiwire’s mobile TV service will use Aloha’s 700 MHz spectrum on UHF channels 54 and 59, and will also be delivered by SES AMERICOM’s IP-PRIME satellite.

Related DailyWireless articles include; MSS: AWS Alternative?, GlobalStar: Give Us Repeater Freqs, Satphones Localize, John Malone in Space, AWS Visual Guide, T-Mobile Plans UMTS, AWS: It’s Done, AT&T’s IPTV: In a Bind, Fight for the Right (of 3.5GHz), and The AWS & 700MHz Dance.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Monday, February 5th, 2007 at 9:12 am .

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