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Broadband Corporation is now an authorized reseller and retailer of the HughesNet high-speed satellite Internet service. It joins Motosat, MobilSat and Ground Control which provide mobile 2-way installations.

HughesNet satellite Internet is available to everyone in the contiguous United States who has a clear view of the southern sky. Satellite technology makes HughesNet ideal for rural customers who do not have access to cable or DSL.

A certified HughesNet installer will connect the computer to a satellite modem and link it to a satellite dish. The HughesNet Home service plan claims download speeds up to 700 Kbps, with typical speeds of about 500 Kbps to 600 Kbps during peak times. Upload speeds, which are capable of reaching 128 Kbps, are typically 70 Kbps to 80 Kbps during peak hours. It uses the Ku band.

In contrast, competitor WildBlue and the Hughes SPACEWAY-3 use Ka band transmission. SPACEWAY employs high-performance, onboard digital processing, packet switching, and spot-beam technology to offer direct site-to-site connectivity at rates of from 512 Kbps up to 16 Mbps.

SPACEWAY-3 was launched August 2007 and is undergoing on-orbit testing after its successful launch. With Spaceway 3, Hughes believes it will open up a market that is not met by the bent-pipe satellites of conventional Ku-band spacecraft or even the Ka band offered by WildBlue

Currently HughesNet, with some 325,000 subscribers, offers 2-way satellite internet to consumers using the Ku band (11/14 GHz). Now the Ka band spotbeam with Spaceway 3 (at 20/30 GHz) should expand the business. Commercial service for Spaceway 3 is expected to begin this January.

Both satellite television suppliers in the United States, DirecTV and Echostar (Dish Network), plan to offer internet services via WildBlue and are apparently phasing out the Ku band 2-way service. DirecTV and EchoStar have a combined total around 30 million U.S. television subscribers. WildBlue has signed agreements with both DirecTV and EchoStar. The five-year agreement also allows WildBlue to provide television services via those providers.

The developer of the DirecTV satellite service, Hughes was taken over by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. in late 2003. Murdoch moved DirecTV to a separate company and in January sold his remaining interest in Hughes for $100 million to SkyTerra Holdings already a major Hughes investor. An agreement with DirecTV Group prevents Hughes from offering consumer satellite television services until 2010. The DiRECWAY name has been dropped; DiRECWAY is now HughesNet. Spaceway 3 is expected to be their 2-way broadband platform of choice.

According to Northern Sky Research, there are as many as 15 million U.S. households without access to broadband service.

Meanwhile, DirecTV & Echostar announced a deal with Clearwire to bundle a triple play of satellite TV, high-speed data and voice. That should enable faster, cheaper broadband access for many rural users, with lower latency (for voice) as well.

DirectTV is the nation’s leading satellite television service provider, with more than 16 million customers in the United States; EchoStar’s Dish Network pipes TV via satellite to roughly 13.4 million customers, so Clearwire has a good opportunity to accelerate customer growth. Clearwire owns spectrum rights in U.S. regions that cover 223 million people and currently has 258,000 subscribers in 39 U.S. markets and plans to move to the Mobile WiMAX standard next year.

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