What's a cheaper way of blanketing cities with wireless receivers than sticking them in orbit? Simple - fill a bag with enough helium to lift 1.4 tonnes of communication equipment and sit them 20km above the surface of the earth. It's a lot easier and cheaper than sticking them on a rocket and a lot more convenient to maintain.
Economist.com | Not quite out of this world
The problem I see at first glance, maintaining satellites is a money spinner. It's one of the ways space agencies are able to maintain funds. If that goes by the wayside, where does it leave space exploration? Then again, maybe it will be the kick they need to start exploring space properly instead of just piddling around in Earth orbit.