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A satellite system from OneWeb Satellites ( that plans to offer affordable Internet service worldwide by 2027. Using spectrum that Teledesic relinquished when its very similar "Internet in the Sky" project failed to launch, OneWeb is expected to offer its first customers service in 2019. OneWeb plans to launch 900 LEO satellites that will route Internet to small user terminals in any location or moving vehicle. The terminal will transmit Wi-Fi and cellular signals to anyone's computer or mobile device. See Teledesic.


(Teledesic Corporation) A Washington State-based company spun off from McCaw Cellular in 1994 to create a high-speed, wireless, switched global network. Its vision was an IP-based wireless system with the same quality level as fiber-based terrestrial systems.

An Internet in the Sky
Teledesic planned for its 288 low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites to transmit in the Ka-band and blanket the earth with the equivalent of 20,000 T1 lines. Data would be switched from one satellite to another, simulating an Internet in the sky. Using dishes less than a meter wide, the target markets were maritime as well as communities without high-bandwidth communications.

An Ambitious Project That Never Came Through
With investors such as Craig McCaw, Bill Gates and AT&T Wireless, and after spending hundreds of millions of dollars, Teledesic suspended operations in 2002. The company cited problems in the industry and financial markets, and a year later relinquished its 1 GHz of spectrum to the FCC. See OneWeb.

Teledesic's "Internet in the Sky"
The 288 LEO satellites (top) were planned to blanket the earth. (Images courtesy of Teledesic Corporation.)

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