by CIO Staff

Satellite to Improve Communications In the Americas

Nov 07, 20052 mins

Inmarsat Global Ltd. is launching a communications satellite Tuesday designed to help bring new high-speed data and communications services to the Americas. The launch had been planned for Saturday but was delayed, according to an announcement by Inmarsat.

The service, called Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN), will be used starting next spring by a variety of customers, including the U.S. military, media companies and global corporations, according to an Inmarsat spokeswoman.

BGAN will enable communications at 432Kbit/sec., to support applications such as video on demand, voice, e-mail and other Internet access, she said. In March, Inmarsat launched its first Inmarsat-4 satellite in the BGAN program, which is now positioned over Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The second I-4 satellite will be located over the Americas, and a third satellite could be launched over the Pacific Ocean, depending on coverage needs, according to Inmarsat’s Web site.

Inmarsat’s Regional BGAN data service is already being marketed to business customers who can purchase ground-based satellite terminals, which cost about US$500, the spokeswoman said. The service offers data connectivity only at an average cost of about $6 per megabyte, she said. Several ground terminal models for the global BGAN service will sell for $1,500 to $3,500, with comparable rates for data transmission. Rates are set by distributors, not by Inmarsat, she said, which means that pricing may vary. No price range has been established for voice service.

The BGAN terminals look like laptop computers and connect wirelessly or with a wired connection to laptops and phones. The service supports the Internet Protocol and traditional circuit-switched technologies, according to a data sheet.

Inmarsat is a satellite wholesaler with an estimated 350,000 terminals in use globally, the spokeswoman said.

The satellite launch can be viewed at

By Matt Hamblen – Computerworld (US online)