Toy Box: Crossing live to our reporter on the scene

'I'm reporting to you live from my home office. In the distance I can see the Three Kings water tower. There is no sign of any military activity but, as we know, that can all change in a second. Evidence is emerging of rodent activity in the area ...'

"I'm reporting to you live from my home office. In the distance I can see the Three Kings water tower. There is no sign of any military activity but, as we know, that can all change in a second. Evidence is emerging of rodent activity in the area and as we've seen this regime is not beyond deploying weapons of mouse destruction.

"It's quiet here -- eerily calm. Reporting live, from the front line ..."

Okay, so this Toybox isn't actually brought to you by the power of satellite communication but I'm sure that's a short-term issue. In the long term, 3G Wi-Fi and the rest of the hideously expensive communications solutions we take for granted these days will have a competitor: Inmarsat's broadband global area network (BGAN), which will offer speeds of 432Kbit/s so long as the beast in the photo knows the difference between metric and imperial measurements and doesn't decide to explore all the possibilities of "horizontal" transport.

Actually, even if this one does there are two more that will still deliver the goods.

Hundreds of millions of dollars each, Inmarsat expects at least one to end up as so much space dust, so it's launching three of the new series of satellite to cover its odds.

If all three end up in orbit that's so much the better and we can expect better coverage -- of up to 90% of the world's surface.

Pricing has been an issue of satellite services but, with the new BGAN network, costs should be halved -- from a whopping $US12 a megabyte. Inmarsat is talking about prices that are slightly higher than 3G service, if and when that ever happens. Clearly this isn't a service for the average P2P home user but if your troops are out in the field, and I do mean field, and need to stay in touch regardless of location, this is worth a look.

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