Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Telecom Providers and Satellite Broadband - Quantum of Solace and The Tourist

And the flight of Angels shall sing thee to thy rest!

Shakespeare, Hamlet, V, 2

Looks like Johnny Depp’s character in the movie Iron Man (2008) was onto something big when he made that Satellite Video Call, and in the same vein as well: Satellite Broadband.

In the movie, there was a scene where the eccentric character Mr. Stark, played by Johnny Depp, is seen clearly making a Satellite Video Call on what appears to be an ordinary smart phone, effectively a demonstration of practical Satellite Broadband. A US Military standard but a rarity for people in some Third World Countries desperate and desirous of basic access to Telecommunication Services such as simple Voice Telecoms and basic Broadband Internet, a luxury the First World enjoys.

Telecom Provider AT&T had stepped up to the plate with their support of the TerreStar Genus as per the article “AT&T launches satellite phone”, published September 21, 2010 9:32 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News - Wireless and stated previously in my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers and Satellite Calling - For Your Eyes Only”.

The TerreStar Genus smart phone is a big improvement in terms of its smaller form factor for a satellite phone (remember those Colombian FARC Rebels?) that offered Voice and Data Services, albeit speeds closer to HSDPA 7.2 (1.5MBps on average!!).

Now it seems that the Other Three Billion of humanity may be able to get access to Satellite Broadband, if OC3 Communications, the OC3 standing for the “Other Three Billion”.

Funded by the likes of heavy hitters such as Google, HSBC and The Development Bank of South Africa, is successful in their satellite deployment over the next three (3) years. This gives you an insight into their target market by 2013, the date that these birds [satellites] will go live as stated in the article “Arianne 5 brings satellite broadband closer to home”, published 29 November, 2010 15:18 By Ben Woods, ZDNet UK.

Thus Satellite Broadband, the other half of the coin, is coming to the fore, at last. Telecom Providers on the Ground supply the handsets and equipment; meanwhile Satellite Providers (new Telecoms term!) provide the Infrastructure. Truly, Google, The World is Not Enough (1999) as per the James Bond movie.

This is now becoming apparent after OC3 Communications launch of their satellite on November 26th 2010 riding aboard an Arianne 5 rocket along with an Avanti Communications' Hylas 1 satellite

OC3 Communications also with the intention to provide Satellite Broadband services but mainly targeting roughly about one hundred and thirty five (135,000) Europeans living in the “boonies” (such colorful America lingua franca) with similar speeds in the 10Mbps range.

This also seems to be the apparent model behind the recent push by Hughes Network Systems and their intended launch of a 100Gbps capacity satellite capable of offering speeds of up to 20MBps theoretical.

This is aimed at approximately two million (2,000,000) customers that Terrestrial Telecom Provider Wireless and Wired Broadband Networks are not capable of reaching due to unavailability of Infrastructure as stated in the article “Finally, broadband satellite with real speed”, published November 9, 2010 4:00 AM PST by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength.

Its potential for Telecom Provider AT&T cannot be overlooked; an offering tailored to American customers in Government services, Telecom Provider AT&T and others could not only commercialize their product into a World Phone (another layer in International Calling along with VoIP!!) but may also herald the dream of many a Telecoms Engineer.

That dream (I wish Google would champion this idea) is a World where there are no complex web of International Calling Prefixes. Instead, the ITU (International Telecommunications Union), would mandate a replacement of the complex web of International Calling Prefixes with a simpler four (4) digit prefix followed by the three (3) digit Exchange code and the four (4) digit station code (Landline and Mobile phones Internationally).

This would usher in Global Mobile Number Portability (GMNP) for all Pre-Paid and two (2) year Contract Postpaid Calling Internationally.

The Global Village would become real, a chanticleer shooing away “style”izations by such movies as Adam Sandler’s You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008), which poked fun at Telecommunications and their cumbersome International Calling codes. The poor of Africa, to will rise up and bless the ITU, Telecoms Guardian of the United Nations and Google, if truly this is their long term plan.

But it seems that Voice Calling and Basic Data services were not enough. There is a pent up demand for higher speed broadband, as people living in the “boonies” (American colloquial again!!), having gotten a taste of the addictive Internet and its potential for improving global commerce, want more.

After all, the United States of America and Canada do have vast swathes of land space yet to be touched by civilization and lacking access to Broadband Internet as stated in the article “Survey: 40 percent in U.S. have no broadband”, February 16, 2010 10:11 AM PST by Lance Whitney, CNET News – Wireless.

An affluent First World country sharing the same problems like Third world Africa and Australia (?), both STILL with very primitive Telecoms Infrastructure, with Satellite being their only Quantum of Solace (2008) as per the James Bond movie! Latency and Terrestrial and Atmospheric Issues that affect the Satellite Broadband aside, the price is prohibitively high, once you wade thought the above article.

So realistically one is expecting this to remain a reality for the desperate-for-broadband-out-in-the-woods crowd wealthy enough to afford it while the rest of us nine-to-five people can only dream about its regular usage.

Google Earth, now with a Street View 3-D Layer available on desktops and soon to be on smart phones, may soon be our only connection to the birds [satellites] as per the article “Google Earth: Now with 3-D trees Street View Integration”, published November 29, 2010, 12:56pm PST by Sam Diaz, Between the Lines - ZDNet.

At least Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) and GPS, (with or without an installed GPS module) is availed to the common man, so the above developments may one day trickle down to us mere mortals living on Earth but nonetheless dreaming of the stars and being a Conde Naste International Traveller, much akin to Johnny Depp buttoned down version of his Iron Man (2008) character’s latest movie, The Tourist (2010).
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