Microsat Systems Canada Inc. (MSCI) announced the development of what it terms COMMStellation™, a 'constellation' of 78 polar-orbit satellites. MCSI established itself and the micro-satellite niche with the success of the MOST (Microvariability & Oscillations of Stars) and NEOSSAT microsatellites and intends to build on that with a deft combination of relatively ordinary technology and a global-scale social conscience.
MCSI's network of micro-sats willl orbit eight times closer to the earth than other commsat networks allowing for use of lower-power electronics while providing backhaul service (see definition below) at 1/8 the latency (i.e. transmission delay) and (as per MSCI) a total cost hundreds of millions less than competing networks all the while allowing network service providers (read: your mobile phone company) to provide service anywhere on the globe.
This last is the socially aware part. All the good intentions in the world will not surmount the fact that, without backhaul, developing nations will not be able to build out the sustainable, economically-feasible mobile data and voice networks required to compete for the economic opportunities that will elevate their economies above the subsistence level.
Backhaul is as fundamental to economic growth as air, water and sunlight is to plant growth. All paths to social and economic equality pass through some backhaul network somewhere. It really is that stark and simple.
O3B is major satellite project aimed at providing bandwidth to the 'Other 3 Billion' referring to the un- and under-served portions of the globe. As noted in telecom expert Elizabeth Tweedie's Report from the COMSYS VSAT 2010 Conference "The potential demand however is huge and even with a full constellation [of 20 satellites] O3b addresses less than 0.5% of the Emerging Markets 3G backhaul needs."
This places MCSI's plans to do it closer to the customer than anyone else (which also means getting the micro-sats in orbit costs less) and with less-exotic (read: cheap and reliable) electronics places their network square on a global pain point. Giving the developing nations an even shot at getting off the World Bank and foreign aid financial heroin means developing infrastructure they can afford to use without mortgaging their heritage to mega-corporations in developing countries.
“High-speed backhaul infrastructure is the single most important enabler to the growth of Internet business models and wealth generation,” explains David R. Cooper, President and CEO, MSCI in the press release. “If a country does not have it – it will fall behind."
Source: MSCI Press Release retrieved /2011/01/19
Definition: Backhaul* (telecommunications)
- Any part of a communications network designated for bulk transport of signals and interconnection with other networks.
- The backhaul portion of a network will not normally be accessible by end-users.
- See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backhaul_(telecommunications)