Broadband satellite gets $3.6bn kick-start

Broadband satellite gets $3.6bn kick-start
Tom Foremski A $3.6bn satellite system to deliver broadband data services has been announced by Lockheed Martin, Telecom Italia and TRW The three companies have invested $900m to kick-start Astrolink, due to begin commercial services in 2003. Astrolink’s key feature is that it will only bill customers for the bandwidth they use rather than for the broadband link. The goal is to launch nine geostationary communications satellites – the first in 2002 – which will cover the Americas and Europe. Lockheed said that Astrolink will profit from huge demand expected for broadband data services, a market forecast to reach $200bn in 2005 by consulting firm Booz-Allen & Hamilton. The rest of the cost of the communications network will be raised from other partners. “We are in active discussions with additional investors and service providers, and we plan to announce agreements with them in the near future,” said Astrolink CEO Celso Azevedo. Lockheed will provide the launch services but may have to improve its rockets. Three Titan rockets built by Lockheed have failed to lift their costly satellite cargos to their designated orbits recently, resulting in a US air force inquiry.


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