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Inmarsat to launch BGAN satellite

If all goes as planned, the Inmarsat-4 satellite will blast into space Nov. 5 eventually ushering broadband global area network (BGAN) service in most areas of the United States. Already available outside this country, the service can be used with store-and-forward techniques for applications like filing video footage and audio clips from the field. Store-and-forward is critical to successful use in a broadcast application because initial BGAN bandwidth is 144kb/s.

BGAN’s attractiveness for news backhaul is twofold. The size of the uplink terminal required is exceptionally small — about the size of a laptop computer. The service provides coverage in many remote areas internationally and is being used currently by journalists to file stories, video and audio files and to interact with producers from remote areas of the planet.

This weekend’s launch would extend BGAN service to much of the United States, and may set in motion a re-evaluation of how ENG assets — people and equipment — are deployed to deliver the greatest coverage.

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