by Jason Snell
Startup seeks to fill cellular dead spots via satellite
This is an interesting idea. Loren Grush at The Verge reports on a startup that’s planning on patching holes in the traditional cellular network from space:
The objective isn’t to completely replace the need for cell towers on the ground, though. No matter what, Earth-based cell towers will provide faster coverage than cell service from space, says Miller. Instead, the idea behind UbiquitiLink is to provide additional cell coverage to regions outside of the range of conventional towers, such as rural or hard-to-reach areas. “It’s filling in the gaps — the black spots all over the world,” says Miller, who estimates that an average of 750 million cellphone users don’t have connectivity at any given time. To close those gaps, UbiquitiLink says it has developed a way to trick any person’s phone into connecting with an overhead satellite whenever the device is out of range of a cell tower.
Contrast this with other space-based Internet efforts that require custom hardware to receive data. Augmenting the existing cellular network is a great idea—if it works.