A communications satellite, sometimes abbreviated to SATCOM, is an artificial satellite stationed in space for the purposes of telecommunications.
For fixed or point-to-point services, communications satellites provide a microwave radio relay technology complementary to that of submarine communication cables. They are also used for mobile applications such as communications to ships, vehicles, planes and hand-held terminals, and for TV and radio broadcasting, for which application of other technologies, such as cable, is impractical or impossible.
Modern communications satellites use a variety of orbits including geostationary orbits, Molniya orbits, other elliptical orbits and low Earth orbits.
Low earth orbiting satellites are less expensive to launch into orbit than geostationary satellites and, due to proximity to the ground, don't require as high signal strength.
With the growing demand for remote access broadband services, satellite networks are becoming increasingly popular. In remote and rural areas, where there is little or no terrestrial communications infrastructure, satellite communications becomes the only viable option.