Second Satellite-to-car Broadcast Satellite Launched

T he second of the three satellites of a constellation that will deliver digital-quality radio broadcasting to motorists throughout the US has been launched. The third operating satellite and a ground spare for the digital audio radio service (DARS) to be provided by Sirius Satellite Radio are expected to be in place by the end of this year. DARS will broadcast up to 100 channels of digital-quality programming to motorists within the continental US for a monthly fee of $9.95. The programming will include 50 channels of commercial-free music and up to 50 channels of news, sports and entertainment from sources not available on conventional radio, such as CNBC, NPR, the SCI FI Channel, Classic Radio and the BBC.

Sirius has agreements to install three-band (AM/FM/SAT) radios in Ford, Chrysler, BMW, Mercedes, Mazda, Jaguar and Volvo vehicles. It also has made arrangements with manufacturers to offer installation of radios and adapters that will deliver the programming in existing vehicles. There are also agreements in place for the Sirius signal to be carried by a network of terrestrial transmitters in 50 cities to broadcast the material in dense urban areas.

Strategic Partnership Formed to Build Broadband Satellite Network

E UTELSAT and Nera have announced the formation of a strategic partnership for the development of broadband access via satellite. The principle objective of the partnership is the construction of a pilot satellite network based on the Return Channel over Satellite (DVB-RCS), the new international open standard. The DVB-RCS standard establishes an open specification for a new generation of versatile and low cost broadband satellite terminals. With these terminals, digital TV and IP data may be received at rates up to 50 Mbps; IP data may be transmitted at rates up to 2 Mbps via a satellite return channel.

Within the partnership, Nera will develop and deliver a complete DVB-RCS network, including hubs and terminals, to EUTELAST. EUTELSAT will contribute its satellite capacity to the joint venture's goal of increasing the market share of satellite networks in the provision of multimedia and broadband access services in competition with existing DSL and cable TV networks.

Paris-based EUTELSAT, with 18 operating satellites providing coverage across Europe, Africa and large parts of Asia and connectivity with America, is Europe's leading satellite operator. Nera, a Norwegian company, specializes in the design, development and marketing of wireless telecommunications equipment and the provision of related services.

New 3G Equipment Facility Opens

E ricsson has opened its newest third-generation (3G) production facility in Gavle on the east coast of Sweden. The plant will produce wideband CDMA (W-CDMA) base stations for the worldwide market.

Ericsson is presently the supplier of W-CDMA 3G networks in nine commercial agreements. Its first W-CDMA systems are scheduled to begin commercial operation in Japan in 2001, followed closely by commercial launches in certain European networks. Within a year, it is expected that approximately 90 3G-licensed operators will be supplying service around the world.

W-CDMA will provide data rates up to 50 times that of present-day GSM systems and make a range of multimedia applications for mobile terminals practical. In addition to the Gavle facility, Ericsson has W-CDMA equipment production facilities in Nynashamm, south of Stockholm and Kista, north of Stockholm.

Wireless Data Users to Number 1.3 Billion by 2004

A new report from Cahners In-Stat Group, "Wireless Data/Internet Market Gains Momentum: Five-year Subscriber Forecast," predicts that the wireless data market will grow from approximately 170 million subscribers worldwide in 2000 to more than 1.3 billion in 2004. As a result, more than 1.5 billion handsets, personal digital assistants (PDA) and Internet appliances are expected to be equipped with wireless capabilities by the end of 2004.

Messaging is expected to be the primary driver of wireless data adoption over the next few years as message volume is forecast to increase from a level of three billion in December 1999 to 244 billion by December 2004. Other features such as mobile or M-Commerce applications, entertainment, real-time financial information, travel and location-based information services are expected to take longer to have an impact on the market. The report does not suggest that the eventual success of wireless data is a foregone conclusion, however. Its success depends heavily on the carriers deploying new infrastructure and installing the new equipment able to provide location-based services, high level security, micro-payment options and detailed billing.

With more than 60 million US households wired for Internet access and 100 million with wireless phones, an enormous potential exists for wireless data services. On the downside, wireless Internet access cannot match the speed of wired connections to which many users have become accustomed, but does add to the convenience and mobility of the service. In Europe and Japan, wired Internet access has far lower penetration than in the US, and primary access is already via mobile phones. When available, 3G wireless service with its higher data rates will serve as additional incentive for European use of wireless data. For additional information, contact Kirsten Skedd, Cahners In-Stat Group (480) 609-4534 or e-mail:

New High Speed Wireless Internet Access Service to be Demonstrated

B urst Wireless Inc. has announced plans to collaborate with Lucent Technologies in a trial of portable, high speed, wireless Internet access to residents and small business users in the Pacific Northwest. Under the terms of the agreement, Lucent will provide networking equipment and software, professional services and network management. Burst's solution utilizes spectrum licensed by the FCC to deliver its portable, high speed Internet access to desktop and laptop computers over a plug-and-play wireless modem. The trial will utilize spectrum in the 1.9 GHz PCS band and wireless Internet equipment that is able to support the high data rates planned in 3G wireless networks. Scheduled to begin during the third quarter of this year, the trial will take place in Port Angeles, WA and involve approximately 50 participants.

Device Combines Processing and Communications Functions

M illennial Net Inc. has introduced its i-Bean, a very low power integrated computing/communications device that combines a disposable computer with a built-in power source, digital I/O, flash memory, pulse width modulation, A/D and D/A conversion, and bi-directional RF communications in a single package about the size of a quarter. i-Bean's size permits simple integration with PDAs, wireless phones, laptops and PCs for a wide range of OEM and end-user applications. Its operating radio frequency may be selected from the 300 to 900 MHz range, and it has a maximum bandwidth of 115 kbps. The device draws a maximum of 2 mA from a 3 V DC battery and has a transmission range of up to 50 feet. For communication with a PC, mobile phone or PDA, RF signals are converted to serial RS232 or the PCMCIA data format, and the communication mode for networking may be point-to-point, point-to-multipoint or multipoint-to-multipoint. *