Re: Ira's Poetry Break

Ira Brodsky (
Tue, 19 Nov 1996 11:41:29 -0600

Michael Lorrey wrote:

>I had read that Motorola was planning on using the Iridium constellation
>to provide the online access service. I also had read, or thought I
>read, that the Teledesic system was going to be accessible via small 18
>inch dishes (which from my own experience, would be very easy to have on
>a camper, boat, even a phased array antennae on the roof of a car or as
>a fold up pack with a solar panel). It does not seem like FSS to me.
>The main distinction I was getting at was the difference in bandwidth
>one can have depending on a satellite constellations altitude.

Iridium will deliver services composed of baseline 2,400 bps channels. The
standard voice call will employ two concatenated channels (4,800 bps --
will probably sound mechanical) and will cost about $3.00 per minute. I
suppose Internet access could be provided by concatenating four channels
(9,600 bps), but it's hard to imagine who would pay for it. (Someone else
said 14 kbps -- even harder to imagine.) Instead, I think they will sell
text messaging (perhaps using a shared 2,400 bps channel) as an optional
service for corporate customers.

Yes, Teledesic plans to support 18 inch dish antennas. I have visited them
and interviewed CEO Russell Daggett. They are going after corporate
customers, not consumers. The ideal customer is a company that wants to
set up a factory in a developing country with inadequate telecomm

The one LEO that is defintely going after consumers is Orbcomm. This will
be a global, two-way paging system. They are looking at hikers and
mountain climbers as one market. They are also trying to get auto
manufacturers to sell in-dash terminals that will let people signal for
emergency roadside assistance. In general, they can provide two-way
messaging to rural and remote locations. The terminals and service will be
reasonably-priced (at least, last I heard).

There is a small firm in St. Louis that has proposed a high-speed data
service for both businesses and consumers via geosynchronous satellites.
They claim their system can support up to 500,000 simultaneous T1 (1.54
Mbps) connections(!) However, I have heard there are some questions about
its viability.

BTW, I don't know which Hughes system is offering 400 kbps right now
(according to Ray Peck), but it is not Spaceway. It is probably older (and
more expensive) VSAT technology.

Ira Brodsky
Datacomm Research Company
Wilmette, Illinois