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Prince Invests $200 Million in Teledesic

Teledesic LLC, architect of the "Internet-in-the-Sky" global broadband network, today announced its newest investor, His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed of Saudi Arabia, who will invest $200 million in the company.

The deal was finalized yesterday in a Los Angeles signing ceremony with Craig McCaw, Teledesic chairman and co-CEO. McCaw and Microsoft chairman Bill Gates are the two primary investors in the Kirkland, WA-based company.

Privately-held Teledesic is building what it calls a "constellation of 288 low-Earth-orbit satellites" with the aim of creating the world's first network to provide "fiber-like" access to telecommunications services. These include linking enterprise computing networks, broadband Internet access, videoconferencing, and other digital solutions.

The company plans to deploy two-way, broadband network connections through service partners in various countries. Boeing is the primary contractor for the network.

"Prince Alwaleed's ability to foresee coming trends in a host of fields, including technology, makes him an ideal partner for Teledesic," said McCaw. "People worldwide have begun to understand that where the prince goes, opportunity follows. Prince Alwaleed's stature and relationships in both the Middle East and around the world will serve us well as we work together to make available--for the first time--low-cost, global broadband communications."

Alwaleed has a reputation of being an astute investor with holdings in major companies worldwide, and reportedly turned a 1991 $590 million Citicorp investment into more than $7 billion following the intended merger between Citicorp and Travelers Group Inc. announced last week.

"I'm attracted to Teledesic not only because of its compelling business plan but because it has the potential to change the world for the better," Alwaleed said in a statement. "I share Craig's vision of bringing the most advanced telecommunications services to the entire world, particularly to parts of the world, including the Middle East and Africa, that wouldn't get that broadband capability any other way."



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