Small firm to deliver news to desktop

Federal Wireless Users' Forum home page

A small, Northern Virginia-based company is preparing to offer agencies a satellite-based service that beams programming such as C-SPAN and CNN into a corner of employees' computer screens, enabling them to monitor events without sacrificing computer performance.

Marshall Communications, Sterling, Va., could start offering the service by October, according to its president and chief executive officer, Sonny Marshall, speaking at a workshop of the Federal Wireless Users' Forum in New Orleans this week.

"I would really see this as a benefit, especially for FEMA, monitoring what's going on in the world, in the country," said Paulette Gemmer, program manager for the General Services Administration's federal wireless telecommunications service.

Gemmer said workers at many agencies follow legislative proceedings broadcast by C-SPAN and national and world events covered by CNN.

Marshall said his company is working out a contract with CNN. But other news services also could be included in the package, including Bloomberg Business Wire, according to Roland Waddell, a spokesman for the company.

"I can see other vertical news services that would [align] with certain agencies," he said, such as broadcast services devoted exclusively to law enforcement and legal affairs.

An agency would receive the service via a 1-meter satellite dish, which would pick up a signal sent in four streams at 384 kilobits/sec. A distribution box would then send the signal throughout the building to designated desktop computers. The software to receive the signal would be downloaded off the Internet for free.

The cost of the service would be $4 to $4.50 per seat but could be reduced with volume discounts, Marshall said.

The video feed would take up less than a quarter of a screen, Marshall said. The idea is to give the employees access to the news while they work and not to turn their computers into TV screens. Marshall said it makes good sense for agencies to receive the broadcasts in this way. Such news feeds are available via the Web, but Webcasts slow overall computer function.

Marshall Communications, formerly Marshall Associates Inc. is a small, minority-owned business. In February, Marshall picked up a broadband distance-learning contract from GSA's Federal Technology Service to provide commercial fixed, mobile and broadcast satellite services, multimedia networking services and equipment to federal agencies.


  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected


Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.