AlphaStar, CTC pitch WiMAX-satellite hybrid to bridge digital divide

AlphaStar International and Computers & Tele-Comm (CTC) created a joint venture to offer WiMAX service in remote areas using a satellite network for backhaul. The two are touting it as a viable solution for broadband stimulus money.

The hybrid model takes advantage of the AlphaStar Teleport, a facility originally built by the U.S. government as part of President Reagan's Star Wars initiative. AlphaStar has the ability to track any area of the U.S., including Hawaii, to deliver WiMAX, the companies said.

CTC said the costs of the network are contained by using satellite primarily for backhaul. The bandwidth is then relayed by ground-based WiMAX transmitters. The system can also serve to supply metro-WiFi services or be used for mobile and maritime applications as well as disaster recovery and homeland security purposes. Low cost radios can be used rather than a two-way satellite receiver at customer locations. The Teleport can also deliver video and audio streaming. By caching the AV streams and large portions of the Internet locally at the WiMAX transmitter performance is dramatically improved at affordable cost, CTC said.

The companies said the partnership will assist local government, companies and organizations in applying for stimulus grants.

"The hybrid model can be deployed within weeks to months (depending on scope), serves underserved and unserved areas, and offers immediate employment as intended by the legislation," said John Wahba of AlphaStar in a press release.

In November, Globalstar won approval from the FCC to incorporate WiMAX in the ATC with the help of terrestrial partner Open Range Communication. The two will offer WiMAX to more than 500 rural communities--with the help of a $267 million loan from the Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Utilities Program. Globalstar said it will be looking for other partners too.

For more:
- see this release

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