connectivity outside the US

High orbit, geosyncronous sattelites do not stand much of a chance against
land lines as the latency on the links is quite high. [...]

Long latency is not automatically bad. It is bad for interactive traffic,
but if the bandwidth is high enough to reduce congestion to zero, a large
latency doesn't hurt bulky transfers at all. Netnews, for example, could
be distributed via satellite without hurting anybody's lookers or feelers.

You can always have compartively small land lines to handle burst
traffic. And the bulk of the data [lower priority] over the satellite links.

[Similar to the way Oracle handles interactive video over cable.]


Perhaps this is finally a case for those little TOS bits in an IP header?
Interactive stuff like Telnet traffic could go through a slow land line,
whereas bulk traffic could go via satellite.

I'm not sure how many TCP/IP stacks still set those bits; it may be
necessary to have a router manipulate the bits after examining the port
numbers of a connection.

FYI, Planet Connect (and others) has been offering Usenet feeds via 18"
dish for quite some time now.