(Teledesic Corporation) A Washington State-based company spun off from McCaw Cellular in 1994 to create a high-speed, wireless, switched global network. Its vision was an IP-based wireless system with the same quality level as fiber-based terrestrial systems.
An Internet in the Sky
Teledesic planned for its 288 low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites to transmit in the Ka-band and blanket the earth with the equivalent of 20,000 T1 lines. Data would be switched from one satellite to another, simulating an Internet in the sky. Using dishes less than a meter wide, the target markets were maritime as well as communities without high-bandwidth communications.
An Ambitious Project That Never Came Through
With investors such as Craig McCaw, Bill Gates and AT&T Wireless, and after spending hundreds of millions of dollars, Teledesic suspended operations in 2002. The company cited problems in the industry and financial markets, and a year later relinquished its 1 GHz of spectrum to the FCC. See OneWeb
Teledesic's "Internet in the Sky"
The 288 LEO satellites (top) were planned to blanket the earth. (Images courtesy of Teledesic Corporation.)