Iridium Set To Take On SwiftBroadband

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Iridium plans to launch an onboard boradband service within the next 18 months to compete directly with SwiftBroadband's 432kbit/sec. service. Iridium will wade in, starting with a product for the maritime market (a 56-150kbit/sec service) that the company would follow with a similar product for land and aeronautical applications in 2008. Iridium's subscriber base in the aviation market grew 60 percent in the past year, mostly due to commercial carriers attracted by the company's automated flight-following and voice/data communications products. Gulfstream Aerospace offers Iridium's dual-channel voice, fax and data communications terminals as standard equipment on its G150 aircraft and similar offerings are expected from Bombardier for its Challenger 605. Eclipse Aviation is also offering Iridium products as standard options on its Eclipse 500.