Satellite comm provider extends support for offerings

Mobile Satellite Ventures of Reston, Va., plans to launch a pair of satellites in 2010 to enable a suite of next-generation communication services, but the venture will continue supporting its current generation services through 2011.

MSV, a joint venture between a Canadian company and SkyTerra Communications Inc., provides services to the FBI, the Justice and Homeland Security departments, other federal agencies, and state and local public safety agencies.

The service is popular with law enforcement and other first responders be cause in addition to mobile data services it provides push-to-talk satellite radio service, 'which they are very comfortable with,' said company spokesman Tom Surface. The interoperable equipment also means that federal agencies can communicate with state and local first responders, setting up ad hoc talk groups at the scene of an incident.

MSV will continue to support current generation communications ground segment (CGS) and mobile data system (MDS) network terminals through the end of 2011. The venture also will facilitate the transition of its current customers to the next-generation services platform.

The venture will create a network interface to let existing satellite communications hubs and customer terminals to operate on its next generation satellite network. During the deployment of MSV's next generation services, customers will not need new hardware additions or upgrades to continue operating MSV's current CGS and MDS network terminals.

MSV is developing a hybrid satellite-terrestrial communications network, based on a patented Ancillary Terrestrial Component technology. The company expects its next-generation network will provide transparent and ubiquitous wireless coverage of the United States and Canada accessible on conventional handsets. The company plans to launch two powerful commercial satellites to enable this network to support communications in a variety of areas including public safety, homeland security, aviation, transportation and entertainment, by providing an open network platform for interoperable voice and high-speed data services. MSV holds the first Federal Communications Commission license to provide hybrid satellite-terrestrial services.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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