Developed by Sky Station International Inc., these satellites are positioned on floating platforms a mere 21 kilometers above the earth's surface. The ITU and the FCC have designated spectrum in the 47 GHz band for use by high-altitude stratospheric platforms, paving the way for planned commercial service to commence in the year 2002.
Source: A Guide to Networking a K-12 School District
One of the main advantages of STS is that the platforms do not require a launch vehicle to be put in place as they are suspended by multiple helium balloons. Sky Station plans to float these platforms above every major metropolitan area. The system will provide uplink data rates of up to 2Mbps and downlink rates10Mbps to an area of approximately 19,000 square kilometers (7,500 square miles). With coverage extending into rural areas outside this zone, this system provides a possible broadband connection for ISPs to areas that do not have access to cable, DSL or fiber optic networks.
The use of higher frequencies is advantageous as it requires lower power receivers. The downside is that they are subject to interference from trees, windows and heavy rain. However, should the deployment of STS platforms take place according to estimated costs, a broadband Internet connection would cost only a few cents per minute.
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