McCaw's ICO originally won government approval to beam voice and data signals from his satellites to customers' phones or computer modems. Now, he wants to add a network that acts like cellular. His revised plan calls for the satellites to beam signals to a terrestrial network that would use radio towers to reach customers in urban areas. Here's how it will work:
McCaw's satellites would beam signals directly to customers in cars, planes, or boats. They could handle voice calls or data transmissions of 144 kilobits per second.
The satellites would zap signals to a receiver that would transmit them to a radio tower, which, unlike satellites, would be able to reach customers inside buildings or on city streets.