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June 18, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:03pm

MOTOROLA PROPOSES ‘INTERNET IN THE SKY’ SATELLITE NETWORK

By CBR Staff Writer

Motorola Inc is proposing new $12.9bn satellite network that will compete directly against the Internet in the Sky project planned by Teledesic Inc, the Bill Gates and Craig McCaw. Motorola recently filed with the US federal regulators to gain permission for the system, less than two months after it lost out to Boeing Co produce the satellites and co-ordinate the $9.0bn Teledesic networking and telecommunications project. The plan to start a third venture looks like an attempt to recoup some of those expenses incurred in its unsuccessful bid. The new project dubbed Celestri, plans to use 63 satellites with a mixture of low and high orbits and one or two geostationary satellites, for data and video transmission to telecommunications firms, broadcasters and businesses. It will transfer data to the ground at rates, between 64,000 bits and 155 million bits per second, offering speeds that would allow transmission of commercial quality video. The service is planned to begin operation in 2002 with initial satellites launched in 2001 the same timescale as Teledesic. According to Teledesic, Motorola will not be able to deliver its system on time. We have been at this for seven years now, including a three-year licensing process. They are just now getting started with this new proposal. They are starting the game very late, said a spokesperson at Teledesic. Teledesic also said Motorola had been in the running to be a sub-contractor for delivering the Teledesic network, but as a competitor it will no longer be considered. Motorola is already involved in two other satellite projects; the 63 satellite $3.4bn Iridium global satellite mobile phone consortium it kicked off back in 1992, and the 72 satellite. $6.1bn M-Star broadband data network it launched last year. Meanwhile, the Iridium venture is to launch a further seven satellites using a Russian-manufactured Proton rocket today. The first five satellites for the project were launched on May 5 after several delays earlier in the year.

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