I wonder what the latency is going to be.  The second article mentions
a usage cost of between $4-7/MB.  They state that the smallest
terminals are 1kg and "about half the size of a laptop."  This won't
be a competitor to existing broadband infrastructure, but if the
latency is low enough it could provide great short-term connectivity
for remote areas.

 - Tony

07-12-2005 [12/7/05] - Inmarsat has announced the successful launch of
its Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN). The company unveiled the new
service to the world in a joint press briefing with representatives of
its Distribution Partners and manufacturers at its London HQ on
December 7.

Six years in development, BGAN is the world's first mobile
communications service to provide both voice and broadband data
simultaneously through a truly portable device on a global basis. It
is also the first to offer guaranteed IP data rates on demand.

Delivered via the Inmarsat-4 satellites - the world's most advanced
commercial communications spacecraft - the service is initially
available across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Following the successful launch of Inmarsat's second I-4 satellite on
November 8, network coverage will be extended to North and South
America from Q2, 2006.

The two I-4 satellites will deliver seamless broadband coverage across
85 per cent of the world's landmass and be available to 98 per cent of
the world's population.

"BGAN delivers broadband where other networks can't," said Michael
Butler, Inmarsat's chief operating officer. "It enables anyone to set
up a broadband mobile office in minutes and remain fully productive -
wherever they are on the planet."

BGAN offers IP data speeds of up to 492kbps, with the option of
guaranteed data rates up to 256kbps. The service is designed for
mobile users who want dependable, secure broadband access when working
in locations with an unreliable or non-existent telecoms infrastructure.

Lift-off for Inmarsat's global broadband
By John Walko - EE Times - (12/08/2005 5:42 AM EST)
The cost of transferring one megabyte of data from anywhere in the
world is put at between $4 to $7, while a voice call is expected to
cost under $1 a minute.

AP story:
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