The race to be the first two-way satellite broadband access provider is heating up now that iSKY has received an additional $137 million in equity funding.
Monday’s cash infusion puts iSKY halfway to its $750 million funding goal needed
to launch Internet satellite-based services. The company also plans to use
the fund to strengthen its corporate infrastructure, by hiring four new
vice presidents and moving its operations to a larger headquarters in Denver.
Thomas Moore, iSKY president and chief executive officer, said the company
is on track to provide broadband access in 2001.
“We are now ahead of iSKY’s financing goals,” Moore said. “We are well on
our way to deploying the first Ka band satellite that can provide
affordable broadband Internet access to every person in the United Stats,
Canada and Latin America. We forecast that at least 25 to 30 million homes
in the U.S. will not have access to other broadband solutions when we
launch next year.”
iSKY plans to launch its two-way satellite
service to the United States late next year, giving customers standard downloading
speeds up to 1.5 megabits per second.
Paul Froelich, iSKY vice president of finance, said the investment is small
when you consider the number of people who will need broadband services in
“Our funding needs are relatively low compared to other satellite, cable
and digital subscriber line infrastructure players, when you consider we
will be able to reach virtually every household in North America with a
broadband solution with this initial phase alone,” Froelich said.
Ka-band satellite technology is easier to market than basic satellite
service, which charges a standard lease for bandwidth used. Using the Ka
spectrum and its switching capabilities, companies can charge for
individual use, acting like a telephone switchboard for long-distance calls
and diminish price prohibitions of the high-speed service.
Roger Stanyard, in his Ka-Band Report, said Ka-band
technology could be a viable market alternative to existing broadband
“Hitherto, the satellite communications industry has been wary of using
Ka-band because it is subject to substantial interference from rain,”
“That problem has now largely been circumvented. Much more
significantly, NASA launched an
advanced Ka-band satellite in 1993 that uses on-board processing and
switching, pencil spot beams and the Ka-band – the three key technologies
for the new commercial Ka-band satellites.”