Satellite company aims to relieve terrestrial mobile broadband network congestion

A Canadian satellite company announced plans to launch a network of 78 inexpensive, small, low-flying satellites for the purpose of relieving network congestion plaguing terrestrial mobile broadband networks.

Microsat Systems Canada Inc.'s (MSCI) project, called CommStellation, is designed for small satellites to fly about 620 miles above the Earth for enhanced coverage, fast launch and better network capacity.

"Until now, no one in the industry has been able to find the manufacturing cost and scheduling efficiencies and cost-effective microsatellite technology to enable an economically viable constellation of satellites to provide 100 percent global coverage," Justin Phillips, MSCI's vice president of marketing, said.

The company claims it is able to utilize more ordinary electronics with its low elevation satellites, unlike the medium orbit satellites used by rival O3b, the satellite initiative backed by Google, Liberty Global and HSBC to bring Internet access to underserved markets. Medium orbit satellites require more expensive components to withstand the temperature and radiation in space.

MSCI has plans to launch satellites beginning in 2014 with full network capacity expected in 2015. To achieve backhaul capability, mobile base stations would link to the satellites that in turn connect to a network of 20 ground stations across the globe that link to the Web to provide backhaul network capacity.

The network strain caused by smartphone traffic has become well-documented with operators looking for a number of solutions ranging from femtocells and offloading to WiFi hotspots to network throttling. MSCI said each of its satellites has a data-transfer capacity of 12 Gbps. The company has yet to announce a launch partner, investors or customers.

For more:
- see this Cnet article

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