MSCI to launch microsatellites to give remote regions Internet access

Canadian satellite company Microsat Systems Canada Inc. (mscinc.ca) is developing a communications constellation comprised of 78 so-called “microsatellites” that will provide backhaul network capacity for mobile devices, and connect remote regions of the Earth to the Internet.

Wireless backhaul is the part of the network that carries voice and data traffic in the Radio Access Network from the mobile base station to the mobile operators’ core network.

Given the rapid growth in data services and steady growth in voice traffic, these technologies need to evolve to accommodate the next generation of services. Announced Wednesday, MSCI’s new COMMStellation (www.commstellation.com), which consists of a cluster of microsatellites in a 1,000 km orbit above the Earth, is a potential solution to this problem.

“The influx of millions of data-hungry mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, is causing unprecedented strain on mobile networks, which have already reached, or are nearing, capacity,” said MSCI president and CEO David R. Cooper. Cooper notes that COMMStellation will support mobile operators’ expanding capacity needs, and may help support government initiatives to connect their citizens to the Internet.

Former Bell ExpressVu Satellite TV CEO and Elevest Corporation founder Michael Neuman said high-speed backhaul infrastructure is a necessary component for the success of Internet businesses, noting that “if a country does not have it – it will fall behind.”

An altogether unique solution, COMMStellation promises to be a cost-effective and viable way to deliver 100-percent global coverage, something that will be important to the emergence of Internet business models, and the empowerment of remote communities worldwide.

MSCI said that its solution will provide more than five times the data bandwidth density for the same satellite output, and all for hundreds of millions less cost in comparison to its closest competitor, network service provider Other Three Billion (www.o3bnetworks.com). O3b is launching an initial constellation of eight medium-Earth orbit satellites into space at an altitude of 8,000 km to address the backhaul market “other three billion” on the planet who have limited or no access to the Internet.

COMMStellation, in comparison, will provide an eighth of the data latency and 10-times the total constellation capacity. It also has the potential to provide bandwidth to 6.9 billion people on Earth, not just the “other three billion.”

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