The SkyBridge consortium's interest in setting up a $6 billion, 40-satellite system to provide worldwide broadband communications may be waning.

The Alcatel-led company may now delay introducing its proprietary low Earth orbit satellite system in favour of leasing capacity on geostationary orbiting satellites.

Loral Space Communications' Cyberstar fleet, in which Alcatel has an equity investment, is already being touted as a potential supplier. Alcatel is also a partner with Loral in the EuropeStar programme. This too offers broadband Internet services.

Loral is a major partner in Skybridge, along with several international companies including Boeing and Mitsubishi. Skybridge has failed to deny the leasing plan.

SkyBridge was established in 1997 with the aim of developing a competitor to the proposed Teledesic system, described as the "Internet in the Sky". However, Teledesic is now part of the new ICO-Teledesic consortium which offers worldwide mobile communications, a concept which has not reached market predictions.

Source: Flight International