Loral Space & Communications Ltd. crews are back at work building the
first Ka-band satellite for WildBlue Communications, a start-up
The spot-beam satellite had originally been set to launch this year, but
construction on the bird was halted while WildBlue gathered more financing for
Armed with a fresh $156 million round from investors Intelsat, Liberty
Satellite & Technology Inc., the National Rural Telecommunications
Cooperative, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and WildBlue chairman David
Drucker, that work can now resume.
The plan now is to launch the bird sometime in 2004 from the Arianespace
facility in French Guyana.
WildBlue-1 will cover North America with 41 overlapping spot beams from its
orbital slot at 109.2 degrees west longitude, and its estimated life span is at
least 12 years.
Later in 2004, WildBlue plans to start offering residential and
small-business two-way broadband-Internet service in areas where cable-modem or
digital-subscriber-line services are not available.
The service plan is to offer about 1 megabit per second downstream and 256
kilobits per second upstream for $45 to $50 monthly. The price for the satellite
receiver needed to pull down the signals has not been set, but WildBlue
estimated that it will be in the several-hundred-dollar range.