In rural communities, cell phone towers may not be accessible. To solve this problem, a company called Higher Ground developed a microwave messaging system using geostationary satellites. The FCC approved the system, which is expected to consist of 50,000 SatPaq devices. These devices connect to a smartphone messaging app via Bluetooth. It has a flip-up antenna that communicates with Intelsat Galaxy satellites over the c-band microwave spectrum.
C-band is used for voice and data communications. The new messaging network could interfere with existing cellular networks, which is a concern for some telecom companies including CenturyLink. Higher Ground defends the charge by stating that the interference is almost negligible because the system is based on self-coordination. The messaging app finds non-interfering frequencies within the 5925 to 6425 MHz uplink band. If a safe frequency and direction isn’t found, then the app doesn’t transmit.
Because of the risk of interference, the FCC can remotely shut down SatPaq devices. Higher Ground is expected to sell the devices for $139.
Source: IEEE Spectrum