Teledesic, the company co-owned by Bill Gates, has cleared the last major regulatory hurdle on its way to providing two-way telecommunications services around the world through a satellite-based broadband network.
The 1997 World Radiocommunication Conference, which ended last week in Geneva, has completed the allocation of the radio spectrum that the global network will need, Teledesic said. The gathering approved a pair of 500MHz bands of spectrum for international use by the sorts of nongeostationary, fixed satellite services that Teledesic plans to offer.
The U.S. government made a similar designation earlier this year.
The Teledesic system will provide "fiberlike" access to telecom services such as linking enterprise networks, broadband Internet access, videoconferencing and interactive multimedia. Service is set to begin in 2002.
The biennial conference also gave Teledesic priority in coordinating with other systems and services to use the spectrum.
Thirty-seven countries, including the U.S., Canada and Australia, submitted formal written proposals to the conference in support of the allocation. Most of those supporters were less technically advanced countries, including Belarus, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Gambia, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Lebanon, Mongolia, Namibia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay and Vietnam.
Teledesic's main backers are its CEO, Craig McCaw, and Microsoft head Bill Gates. The Kirkland, Washington, company can be reached at http://www.teledesic.com/.