The Lost Cluster
There is no faster-than-light communication in the Lost Cluster, at least not at this time. Simultaneous radio communication can only occur at relatively close distances, because a signal travelling planet-to-planet can take minutes or hours to arrive.
Bandwidth pollution is a common problem, especially in heavily populated areas and over long distances. Several telecommunications companies operate unmanned “repeater” satellites that boost and relay passing signals that are prefixed by a company-specific code. These are a valuable service in developed systems, but it seems that every week there’s a news flash about booster eavesdropping – sometimes by the repeater’s operators, sometimes by a third party. Therefore most confidential information is sent by courier, or by laser. Laser communication is safer and more direct than radio, as long as the signal is not directly intercepted or deflected.
There is currently no known way to transmit a signal through a slipstream. Therefore, all signals must be ferried through and rebroadcast by a ship or automated probe.
Some groups have run their own regular cross-slip comm ferries, but these are very expensive to maintain due to the isolated nature of the slipstreams. Therefore, many slipships have found it profitable to act as makeshift signal couriers, receiving messages on one side of the slipstream and rebroadcasting them on the other. Some ships, like the King’s Hope will rent out a spot onboard to a freelancerwho runs a “yam”, a dedicated signal courier service.
No two yams are alike, but they’re rarely reputable.