A satellite-based communication system providing high rate transfer of data between linked terminals. The system comprises a plurality of user terminals (VSAT's) that are linked by and that communicate with each other by way of a satellite-based relay system. A network control center provides configuration signals that control the satellite relay system and coordinate linking of terminals to each other. Frequency division multiplexing uplinks are used from the terminals and the network control center to the satellite relay system. Time division multiplexing are used on downlinks from the satellite relay system to the terminals and the network control center. Each user terminal comprises a data compression and decompression circuit, a transceiver, and an antenna for transmitting and receiving data to and from the satellite relay system. The satellite relay system comprises a satellite, a wide area antenna, a plurality of receive antennas, a plurality of transmit antennas, and a signal processor. The wide area antenna is provided for communicating control signals between the user terminals and the network control center. The plurality of receive antennas operate in a first frequency band and produce a first plurality of beams that cover a service area. The plurality of receive antennas receive time domain modulated data from the user terminals. The plurality of transmit antennas operate in a second frequency band and produce a second plurality of beams that cover the service area. The plurality of transmit antennas transmit frequency domain modulated data to the user terminals. The signal processor demodulates the time domain modulated data received from a user terminal, routes the demodulated data so that it is transmitted to a second user terminal, remodulates the data to provide frequency domain modulated data, and transmits the frequency domain modulated data to the second user terminal. Video cameras and monitors are coupled to the user terminals to provide for video teleconferencing.