About 46% of total internet installations in people’s homes fall below download speeds of 25Mbps, leaving almost half of the homes in the United States with substandard internet services in comparison to the rest of the country. Many of these underserved homes fall in rural areas outside of the purview of major landline internet providers, where they have determined the cost to build the infrastructure necessary to bring fiber optic internet into homes is not worth what they would make in return.
Satellite internet company HughesNet is looking to even the playing field a little bit. In December, they launched their EchoStar XIX satellite, which is now safely in orbit with all systems go and ready to provide satellite internet plans featuring 25Mbps download speeds with their Gen5 service.
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With this new expansion of their high-speed internet services, Hughes expects to be able to compete for a lot of people still using DSL, dial-up, and other older internet technologies.
“One are we think is a cause of great frustration is low-speed DSL,” said Hughes EVP Mike Cook. “It’s a copper-based technology that telcos are not investing in. We think for people who are on that, HughestNet Gen V is a tremendous upgrade in service capability.”
The expansion of the satellite network also allows Hughes to help shed data caps. Under its new service, Hughes customers will have “soft” data caps – once they hit their data limit, the service will downgrade their priority in terms of service (meaning things will slow down at certain times of day) rather than cutting off service completely. The latter is a source of some consternation to satellite internet customers. Customers will also get a free 50GB worth of data per month if that data’s used during off-peak hours.
The big perk of this is that DSL and satellite customer who previously weren’t able to use streaming services like Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Prime will now have the opportunity. (Although Cook recommends sticking to standard def in order to avoid capping your data plan.) The plans are cost-competitive, too, with consumer plans starting at $49.99 per month and business plans at $69.99 per month.
While satellite internet does not offer all the benefits that some of the higher-level services in more urban and suburban areas offer, it is improving, and HughesNet is leading the way.
ViaSat, a US-based company providing satellite internet, is now teaming up with aerospace giant Boeing for the creation and launch of three new satellites with the ability to provide 1-Terabit high-speed internet to remote areas of the world. This will allow 100 Mbps connections in remote residential areas of the United States, North and South America, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia, as well as increasing connectivity on commercial airlines, business-class jets and government aircraft.
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All told, the company says the three new satellites could deliver twice (or more) the total network capacity of the 400 or so commercial communications satellites currently orbiting the Earth combined.
But ViaSat is far from alone in these pursuits — in fact, the race to provide emerging markets with high-speed internet access has long been in full swing. SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are ramping up efforts to provide internet connections from space using small armies of satellites. Google has a few different ideas, like providing 5G connection using solar-powered drones, or using massive balloons to create widespread internet access. And then there’s Facebook, which has a solar-powered internet drone of its own, is partnering with French satellite operator Eutelsat to provide internet to sub-Saharan Africa, and is also potentially working on a millimeter-wave radio mesh network solutionsimilar to the one being teased by Starry.
All of these options face massive challenges — satellite internet can still be disrupted by weather, and Facebook, Google, SpaceX, and Virgin are years away from rolling out some of their solutions — but they each point to the same utopian endgame: a much more connected future for everyone.
These satellites could also be an alternative solution to building fiber-optic infrastructure to underserved areas, and may in the long run cost less money to bring high-speed internet to more outlying areas. We’ll find out when Boeing launches the satellites at the end of 2019.
As it stands now, most Americans receive high-speed internet service from cable companies like Comcast and Charter Communications, or phone providers like AT&T. That could all change, as a number of tech companies across the globe, with some based in the United States’ Silicon Valley, are looking to deliver high-speed internet by satellite at much higher speeds than ever before.
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On Monday, Europe’s Airbus Group announced at the Paris Air show that it will build 900 internet satellites for OneWeb, a space internet start-up backed by Virgin Galactic billionaire Richard Branson, with a goal to start swathing Earth with internet signals by 2018.
The announcement came just weeks after Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket firm filed plans with the Federal Communications Commission to launch two small experimental “MicroSat” satellites in 2016, in a first step toward a swarm of 4,000 broadband satellites.
These companies are heralding ever-smaller satellites as the next space revolution.
There are many companies that already offer internet service via satellite, and that can be the only option available to those in rural areas, especially parts of the United States where broadband internet is not available. But those satellites are large and unwieldy, and as a result internet lag time is a big problem. Lag time is also caused by how high these large satellites must fly. The new satellites will be much smaller and in theory more capable of bringing a constant signal from space.
What does this mean for the current heavyweights of high-speed internet? Not much, as of yet. But companies should try and reach rural customers before the satellites get better, or else terrestrial internet might get left on the earth.
The Arctic is one of the few places on Earth where high speed internet is not available. Fiber optic cables, satellites, and hot air balloons are just some of the ways internet has been brought to more remote locations in Africa, Asia, and Australia, but they have yet to make their way to the Arctic. That may all change as Norway is considering bringing high speed internet to the Arctic, with the Norwegian Space Center teaming with Telenor Satellite Broadcasting to see how to cover northern areas outside of the reach of current communications satellites.
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Space center director Bo Andersen on Thursday told The Associated Press the system could be in place in the early 2020s if it gets the necessary funding from private and public sources. The estimated cost is 2 billion-4 billion kroner ($330 million-$650 million).
Demand for high-speed Internet in the Arctic is expected to grow as shipping, fishing and oil companies move north amid warming temperatures and melting ice. Last year, summer sea ice cover in the Arctic fell to the lowest extent on record.
Geostationary satellites, which are in orbit over the equator, provide coverage up to 75 degrees north, Andersen said. But above that latitude, the signals become too weak, and the only option is another satellite network that can only handle voice and limited data service.
“We see very clearly that there is an increasing need for broadband in the high Arctic,” Andersen said.
Ola Anders Skauby, a spokesman for Norwegian energy company Statoil, said “new satellite solutions would be beneficial” as the offshore industry moves north in search of oil and gas.
“Our plans for the Arctic depend on a number of issues: safe operations, logistics, weather conditions and more,” he said. “Broadband coverage is part of this picture and for operations in some regions further north than where current operations are taking place development of new solutions for high-capacity broadband … will be needed.”
More on this story as it develops here at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.
More than three billion people still lack access to high speed internet across the world. O3b Networks is doing something to change that. On June 25, the company launched four telecommunications satellites meant to bring high speed internet to some of the planet’s 3 billion without internet.
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“Today, a life-changing journey has begun for many of the remaining unconnected and underserved regions of the world. In only a few years, we have designed and launched a revolutionary system; one that will transform the way communications are handled in many of the world’s underserved markets. Working with our customers, O3b will open up a new and exciting world to billions of people who, up to now, have not experienced the benefits of fast Internet connectivity and who, as a result, are not on a level playing field,” said Chairman John W Dick.
O3b, stands for “other 3 billion” people without Internet access – a surprisingly large percentage of the world’s population has either very limited Internet access or none at all , enjoys world-class financial and operational support from SES, HSBC, Liberty Global, Development Bank of South Africa, Sofina, Satya Capital, Google, Northbridge Venture Partners and Allen & Company.
O3b divided the earth up into seven regions, and will have at least one satellite over each region at all times. Each region will also feature a gateway base station that is responsible for connecting the satellite network to the world. Once at the satellite, traffic can be directed by up to 10 customer-focused beams to 600km diameter areas as needed to provide service. These areas can range from large cellular provider gateways that might have three 7.3-meter antennas and carry many gigabits of traffic, to smaller and even moving ground-stations like the one planned to deliver “fiber-quality Internet” to Royal Caribbean’s 8,000 person flagship the Oasis of the Seas.
Unlike traditional telecommunications satellites, the O3b satellite constellation is in lower orbit, and operates on different frequencies. As a result, the company claims that it will be able to deliver higher bandwidth data with less latency than current satellite technology. The company also claims that its system may experience less latency than fiber optic cables.
More on this story as it develops here at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.
Hughes Network Systems, LLC, the company behind the high speed satellite internet service HughesNet Gen4, has announced that next generation satellite broadband internet plans have been added to the US General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule 70 #GS-35F-0907P. The new HughesNet plans provide speeds up to 15 Mbps and is available to federal, state and local government customers across the United States.
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“Government agencies depend on the Internet to conduct and back up their mission-critical operations, yet many—particularly those in remote locations—have been unable to purchase cost-effective, high-speed Internet solutions,” said Tony Bardo, assistant vice president for government solutions at Hughes. “That ends today with the addition of Hughes high-capacity, next generation Internet plans to our GSA Schedule. Now, every federal, state, and local government agency across the U.S. has access to affordable broadband Internet connectivity for both their primary and back-up needs.”
Hughes Internet Access Solutions are powered by the recently launched EchoStar XVII® satellite with JUPITER™ high-throughput technology—a nexgen Ka-band satellite employing a multi-spot beam, bent-pipe architecture—delivering the industry’s fastest satellite Internet speeds.
The plans offer download speeds of 10 or 15Mbps and a choice of generous data allowances tailored to the needs of the government. All three tiers come with Hughes enterprise-grade equipment and are backed by Hughes service and support.
Satellite internet is often the only option for government installations not near large metropolitan areas, because the fiber optic infrastructure is not in place. Satellite internet in the past has been slower than cable or phone company internet options. HughesNet’s latest developments bring speeds that compete with cable internet and DSL internet provided by phone company providers.
We at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog highly recommend satellite internet service from Hughes, the leader in satellite internet.
Many areas of the United States are underserved when it comes to high speed internet. Cable and telecom providers do not provide high speed internet access to many rural areas, as they have not seen enough profit to expand their networks into sparsely populated areas. There is a great option for rural area high speed internet, though, that many people do not know about: HughesNet Gen4, the fourth-generation high speed satellite internet service.
HughesNet satellite internet’s Gen4 offers dramatically improved performance and higher speeds than earlier satellite internet platforms. Here are just a few of the advantages available with the new HughesNet package.
- Increased Web Speeds: Speeds up to 15 Mbps are available, as much as 15 times faster than previous satellite internet packages.
- The Greatest Data Allowance: HughesNet Gen4 provides the highest data allowance of any satellite internet service, up to 40GB per month.
- A Cutting-Edge Satellite Network: HughesNet’s satellite internet service is built on the most advanced satellite network in the industry, using high-capacity satellites and on-the-ground equipment including the newly launched Echostar XVII satellite.
- A Range of Plans: HughesNet offers a range of plans for everyone from the casual internet user to the hardcore online junkie.
- Tech Support You Can Trust: HughesNet operations centers are staffed with qualified engineers to help you at any time; no matter what time you call, you’ll get tech support based in the USA every time.
- Professional Installation
- Innovation: HughesNet has been innovating in the field of satellite technology for more than 30 years.
If you live in a rural area that’s not served by providers like Charter Communications, Comcast, or Time Warner Cable, HughesNet is the best option for you. We recommend Mid-America Satellite for setup and installation. Contact Mid-America Satellite today if you’re interested.