WASHINGTON, D.C. – Five years after its founding, the Kymeta antenna venture backed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is releasing its first commercial product – and partnering with satellite operator Intelsat on a new broadband data service dubbed Kalo.
Kalo (rhymes with “halo”) and Kymeta’s integrated antenna and data terminal system made their debut today at the Satellite 2017 conference in Washington, D.C.
“Anything you could do on a cellphone, you can now do with a satellite,” Bill Marks, chief commercial officer for Kymeta, headquartered in Redmond, Wash., told GeekWire.
One big difference is that Kalo’s Ku-band service will be accessible from virtually anywhere in the world, thanks to Intelsat’s constellation of 52 telecom satellites. The bandwidth can exceed 100 megabits per second, which is comparable to cable modem speeds.
Kymeta’s president and CEO, Nathan Kundtz, said Kalo was aimed at making the purchase of satellite data services more akin to buying cellular service. Getting hooked up should be about as easy as setting up a smartphone – and way, way easier than setting up a steerable satellite dish.
“People don’t buy antennas,” Kundtz said today. “People don’t even want antennas. What people want is access and communication, and that requires world-class connectivity.”
You do have to pay for the access that Kalo brings: Marks said Kymeta’s stop-sign-sized (28-inch-wide) antenna and terminal will be made available at a packaged price of $25,000, starting in May.
Marks said monthly charges for the Kalo service will range from $29 for a gigabyte of data to $899 for 80 gigabytes. “It’s a fraction of the cost of satellite capacity today,” he said. And he expects the price to drop as more antennas are built and sold.