Iridium Launches Its Own Satellite Internet System
This past week, Iridium Communications launched the fifth installment of ten satellites into low orbit. The launch on Friday was assisted by SpaceX, which is currently working on its own satellite system for worldwide broadband for home users and small business.
Iridium’s target audience is different than SpaceX. They will use two-way communications through L-band/VHF rather than the K-band. Iridium claims that using smaller antennas with lower latency will equal a better customer experience. According to CEO Matt Desch, they are not interested in competing with 5G or cable companies using the K-band spectrum.
Big Price Tag, Big Plans
This network endeavor will cost $3 billion and consist of 75 Iridium Next satellites in orbit. They currently have fifty of their target seventy-five installed. Iridium boasts of being involved in the “largest technology upgrades ever completed in space.”
Iridium also announced that it surpassed 1 million subscribers; more than half are using IoT devices to track heavy equipment, monitor power lines, and monitor endangered species. The company believes that the future of the Internet is more things connected to things.