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'Internet in the sky' gets turbo boost

Broadband via satellite could be a goer

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is just one of a trio of investors that have recently sunk more than £600 million into satellite broadband technology - a proposed alternative to ADSL and cable.

ICO-Teledisic Global, yesterday announced new funding, which will is likely to go towards creation of a constellation of new satellites that will host broadband services and advanced wireless capabilities.

ICO-Teledisic calls its approach "Internet-in-the-Sky" - a plan that holds as its centrepiece a constellation of 288 low earth-orbiting satellites and ground stations. The company's proposed infrastructure comes with a price tag some say could top more than £6 billion.

The venture plans to launch the slew of satellites and harness them to offer IP-based mobile and fixed broadband services along with third generation (3G) wireless Internet and other packet data services.

In its latest round of funding, ICO-Teledisic received £100 million from Gates through his private investment firm, Cascade. In 1994, Gates signed on as one of the founding investors in Teledisic.


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