Historically, FCC spectrum allocations for terrestrial wireless and satellite services were separate and independent. But last June, FCC concluded a lengthy technical analysis and issued a positive ruling that certain terrestrial wireless services, so-called ATC (Ancillary Terrestrial Component), could be designed to operate in the same spectrum as satellite services, without interference. It subsequently granted licenses to two service companies to implement combined terrestrial wireless and satellite networks using S-band spectrum, paving the way for an exciting new wave of mobile communications.
In two separate and heavily competed tenders, both ICO and another mobile satellite operator selected Hughes, in cooperation with Loral Space Systems, to develop and supply advanced ground base beam forming (GBBF) systems and gateways. This new technology will enable the reuse of spectrum by combined terrestrial and satellite networks without interference, and incorporates sophisticated algorithms on a high-speed ground-based platform that is in constant radio communication with the satellite.
The new GBBF system is expected to be deployed in 2007 in the continental U.S. and parts of Canada. This deployment leverages Hughes’ long history and experience in satellite communications, and both the Hughes and Loral engineering teams have already begun the detailed design phase with delivery and integration milestones planned throughout 2006.