Satellite internet provider WildBlue Communications is going after a $30 million slice of stimulus pie, reports Light Reading. About $15M will help subsidize satellite broadband connections for about 10,000 homes in Colorado and Wyoming, while the rest of the money will go for another 10,000 in Arizona that are out of reach of high-speed cable, fiber, and DSL lines.
Lisa Scalpone, WildBlue’s SVP of business development, confirmed to Unstrung that the company has pledged to pitch in $8 million of its own money — $4 million in Colorado/Wyoming and an equal amount for Arizona – toward the project in the form of “in-kind services” and actual dollars.
WildBlue surpassed 400,000 customers this August. In the span of only four years, the company says it has gone from an unknown brand with no customers to the leading provider of high-speed Internet services to rural households in the U.S.
Other satellite providers that could be pitching proposals for stimulus money might include:
- TerreStar, which launched their monster satellite July 1st. They made an end-to-end phone call using their TerreStar-1 platform, the world’s largest commercial communications satellite last month. The TerreStar network will operate in two 10-MHz blocks of contiguous MSS spectrum in the 2 GHz band throughout the United States and Canada – with a spectrum footprint that covers a population of nearly 330 million.
- Mobile Satellite Ventures (now SkyTerra), is a sister operation of TerreStar (SEC filings). They plan to use the L-Band, around 1.6 GHz, for similar satellite phone service. Skyterra combined Motient’s satellite operations with those of Ottawa-based TMI. Skyterra plans to launch three satellites: MSV-1 (U.S.), MSV-2 (Canada) and MSV-SA (South America). The L-band MSV-1 and MSV-2, satellites will operate from 101 degrees and 107.3 degrees with 22-meter mesh reflectors linking to conventional handsets. MSV-1 is currently expected to launch in the first quarter of 2010 with MSV-2 expected in the second half of 2010. Telesat will manage in-orbit operations.
- ICO G1 was successfully launched on April 14, 2008. G1 is now on station at 92.85 degrees West Longitude in geosynchronous orbit. Their service, which is targeting multimedia delivery to vehicles, is available in Raleigh-Durham, NC and Las Vegas, NV. ICO’s 12 meter reflector (pdf) utilizes a gold-plated mesh reflective surface in a unique new Harris design that allows a very large antenna reflector to stow safely and easily on the Loral 1300 satellite platform. In September 2008, ICO announced that WiMAX provider Clearwire will join as a service partner.
- SPACEWAY 3 was launched by Arianespace in August, 2007 and subsequently placed into geostationary orbit by Boeing in December, 2007. The spacecraft was built by Boeing Satellite Systems and is based on the Boeing 702 design. Currently HughesNet, with some 325,000 subscribers, offers 2-way satellite internet to consumers using the Ku band (11/14 GHz). Now, with the Ka band spotbeams on Spaceway 3 (at 20/30 GHz), HughesNet expects to expand the business.
- The O3B satellite network (”O3B” stands for “the other 3 billion”) is set for launch in late 2010. An ISP would install a pair of high-tech antennas capable of tracking multiple satellites and establish a 155-megabit per-second connection to the global Web. ISPs could use 3G cellular and WiMax towers for local connections. Each satellite in the network will have 10 spot beams, each delivering in excess of 1Gbit/s. Just how they plan to get 10 Gbit/s UP TO the satellite is less clear.
- ViaSat-1 is expected to have more capacity than the combination of all other satellites in operation over the United States, providing 2-10 Mbps download speeds at retail prices competitive with terrestrial services, says the company. WildBlue Communications pitched its “next generation” satellite capabilities on Capitol Hill earlier this year.
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