Mike Martin

A multi-billion-dollar programme to deliver wide bandwidth data to mobiles is being developed by Boeing Information and Communications Systems, the show heard yesterday.

While decisions on progressing the project - and what form it may take - will be made later this year, the company is talking to potential partners such as service providers. The project follows a major piece of market research that shows that delivering wide bandwidth information to mobile users offers huge potential in future.

"We have all become more committed to wide bandwidth to handle things like Internet information," says Kenneth Medlin, vice-president and general manager of Information and Communications Systems.

"People have more mobility but they are looking for high bandwidth and mobility, enjoying the same facilities they have in the home or the office.

"This is a market with significant growth potential."

He adds that the firm has been addressing the technology and the customer service levels needed.

Such a network - which would serve both military and civil customers - would deliver wideband communications to customers on the move. "We believe you have to get wideband communications into platforms such as aircraft," Medlin says.


Now in its third year, one of the critical issues was developing a phased array antenna. One is now in production.

The company is developing detailed plans for the product base, and is studying the best way to configure the satellite network needed for such a service. The use of wideband video has been successfully demonstrated in trials.

Medlin says a key issue on the service side is identifying subscribers and then managing the best way to recruit them.

"You have a problem: do you build your infrastructure and then get subscribers or get your subscribers and then build your infrastructure?"

He adds that phasing in subscriptions as the network develops is the likely route.

Source: Flight Daily News