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Engadget gots a hands-on demonstration of the new ViaSat-1 internet service in the parking lot at CES in Las Vegas this week. ViaSat-1, the first in a new generation of High Throughput Satellites, was launched in October and is now set to deliver 12 Mbps+ download speeds (3 Mbps+ up) beginning next week for $50 per month.

What makes the ViaSat-1 satellite different is its capacity. The single satellite has more capacity than all the previous internet satellite services combined. Perhaps more importantly, the extremely restrictive caps on data, imposed by WildBlue and Hughes Spaceway, have been removed replaced by more moderate caps. The satellite internet service is now more competitive with DSL or cable modem service.

You still need Southern exposure, and there’s still just over a half-second of latency to the geosynchronous satellite, but the speeds are much faster.

Engadget performed a speed test and registered ping speeds of about 600ms, download speeds of about 30 Mbps and upload speeds of about 2 Mbps. They also placed a VOIP call, and while the delay was noticeable there, it was still usable.

ViaSat-1 is an all new Ka-band, high-throughput bird, a platform designed to provide more than 140 gigabits per second throughput. Coverage is along the West Coast and in the Eastern half of the U.S. It doesn’t cover the Mountain time zone or the plains, that’s filled in by ViaSat’s WildBlue subsidiary. ViaSat 1 achieves its speeds in part by focusing capacity in areas where service has been popular for WildBlue.

Both ViaSat-1 and HughesNet’s Jupiter are expected to provide satellite internet access up to 10 Mbps in the United States in the later half of 2012.

Related DailyWireless Space and Satellite News includes; ViaSat-1 Passes Test, ViaSat-1 Launched, High Throughput Satellite Goes Live, Dish Talks Up Terrestrial LTE, EchoStar Closes $2B Hughes Deal, ViaSat Buying Wild Blue, New High Capacity Satellites for North America, EchoStar to Buy Hughes, Charlie’s Big Play ,

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