03:14 PM

Globalstar Launches Satellites For Planned Broadband Service

CEO Dalton targets over 200 rural communities, following FCC's efforts to stimulate mobile satellite services.

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After some lost satellites, nearly 20 years, and a few billion dollars up in smoke, satellite service provider Globalstar appears ready to ride a new constellation of satellites to its goal of delivering mobile voice and data services to businesses, governments and consumers.

With the first six satellites successfully launched days ago and 18 more scheduled to follow soon, Globalstar CEO Peter Dalton believes the company is on track to deliver on its long-awaited promises.

“Once we get the constellation up, we will begin to modify earth stations,” he said in an interview. “We’ll be able to provide data speeds of up to 256 kbps.” He expects the low-orbit constellation to be ready to begin delivering the updated and improved service in several months. Much of the new enthusiasm for emerging satellite services in the U.S. can be traced to the Federal Communications Commission’s recent effort to make new spectrum available for mobile satellite services by removing older regulatory barriers and promoting new investment in the mobile satellite services (MSS) field. The FCC has targeted three frequency bands, including Big LEO Band used by Globalstar for MSS use.

Globalstar, which began nearly 20 years ago as a joint venture of Loral Corp. and Qualcomm, already provides MSS services to 400,000 subscribers over the Big LEO band.

“We are well positioned to help fulfill the FCC’s goal of ensuring that the MSS industry remains robust while looking for ways to utilize Globalstar’s spectrum to advance the goals of the (FCC’s) Broadband Plan,” said Dalton, who noted also that Globalstar has an agreement with Open Range Communications to partner in the delivery of broadband services in some rural U.S. states. Open Range began to offer wireless broadband Internet services a year ago and plans to provide service to more than 200 rural communities by the end of the year.

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