A very interesting overview of AMSAT's phase IV Geostationary Satellite and the possible emergency communications implementations is in the Fall issue of CQ-VHF.
As you can tell I don't have a lot of love for Emcomm, but here is something that actually makes sense. A high speed multi-media capable, geostationary satellite.
AMSAT has recently begun negotiating with INTELSAT to get amateur radio communication payloads “piggybacked” on commercial geosynchronous communications satellites. This would be a first for amateur radio. It would allow earth stations to have 24/7/365 communications over a very large area using small fixed antennas. A small dish antenna would be able to access voice communications and text messaging. A larger dish antenna could provide access to video and high speed data. Because this has obvious value for emergency communications, AMSAT hopes to get considerable funding for this project from emergency communications agencies.
Hams are well acquainted with radio coverage problems while providing emergency communications. The high frequency bands suffer from hourly to daily propagation challenges. VHF and UHF simplex channels have limited geographic coverage. A repeater improves coverage while restricting all operations to its fixed channel pairs. Most of our current operating modes offer voice communications only. If data is transmitted it is supported at low rates such as 300, 1200, or 9600 baud.
I hope this gets some backing from the ARRL ARES directors. I honestly don't understand why and how all these recommendations come down the EC line to promote stuff like WinLink. They should all get behind something like this that makes sense, and help promote development and deployment of terrestrial HSMM networks.