Inmarsat has the FCC licenses to sell its satellite receiver gear in the U.S.: The Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) system makes use of new fourth-generation satellites that were launched in 2005 with one more to come this year. The satellites use beam forming to pinpoint coverage to cities or regions and has hundreds of beams per satellite. Speeds using the portable broadband terminals run 432 Kbps for $3 to $7 per megabyte. Inmarsat promises streaming quality at up to 256 Kbps. Receivers cost about $3,000.
While ruinously expensive for casual use, there is almost certainly a market of 100,000s of regular users who need broadband in areas where there really are no alternatives, including news crews and rescue workers for whom the tradeoff is time versus lives, making the cost less critical.