In a follow up to our earlier story on ViaSat and NRTC, ViaSat have announced their new 12 Mb/s satellite broadband service, exede. The high speed service will launch on 16 January beginning at $50 per month, offering 12 Mb/s down and 3 Mb/s up, using the new ViaSat-1 satellite.
The exede service will be welcomed by rural communities that have been unable to get high speed Internet connections because of the lack of infrastructure and the distances involved. Satellite broadband overcomes these issues to offer a “feels like fiber” experience.
“With our new exede broadband service, customers across the United States will have a way to get exceptional speed whether they live in a city, suburbs or a more rural area,” said Tom Moore, senior VP of ViaSat. “Our new exede service speeds make us very competitive with both wireless home broadband service as well as legacy DSL and many cable services.”
The exede residential broadband packages all feature the same high speed but with higher data allowances at each price point.
Up to 12 Mbps downloads
and up to 3 Mbps uploads
Data Allowance (monthly)
Package Price (monthly)
Overall, this looks like a great new service for people who were poorly served in the past, but users will have to watch out for those data limits.
The National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative has partnered with ViaSat to offer NRTC members faster 12 Mb/s satellite broadband through ViaSat’s WildBlue service. The NRTC represents the telecommunications and information technology interests of around 1500 rural utilities and affiliates in 48 US states.
The new ViaSat-1 high-capacity Ka-band spot beam satellite was launched back in October and includes coverage over North America and Hawaii, enabling a variety of new, high-speed broadband services for WildBlue in the U.S., Xplornet in Canada, and JetBlue Airways on its domestic U.S. fleet. Capable of 140 Gb/s, this one single satellite has more capacity that all of the other North American satellites put together.
“NRTC’s electric and telephone members were the first distributors of WildBlue service, and they remain committed to ensuring that rural Americans have access to robust broadband,” said Tim Bryan, NRTC CEO. “The enhanced satellite broadband service will make significant contributions to the communities we serve, so we are very happy to continue our relationship with ViaSat and offer the new service.”
Pricing wasn’t announced, but current WildBlue customers pay between $50 and $80 per month depending on service. Outside of ViaSat-1′s coverage area, the NRTC will also offer 5 Mb/s broadband service through a range of delivery mechanisms. Based on figures from WildBlue, between 10 and 20 million American households are unable to get broadband through DSL or cable and for them, fast satellite broadband at a reasonable price will be warmly welcomed.
Todd and his team will try to get a demo of the satellite service at next week’s CES.
Between the phone ringing, computers rebooting and me sticking my foot in my mouth 2-3 times I have a great show for you.. Back for one show here in Honolulu and off to Austin next week. Then home for Christmas and to prepare for CES 2012!
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In a press release today, Virgin Media announced that it was trialling 1.5Gb/s cable broadband connections with four media companies in London. Offering 1.5 Gb/s down and 150 Mb/s up, if successful it would be the world’s fastest cable broadband and about 240 times faster than the UK average connection speed.
The technology will use the same infrastructure as delivered to residential customers, so in theory, if it works in this trial it should work just about everywhere Virgin has a cable network. Virgin has already successfully trialled download speeds of 1Gb/s in its fibre network but currently offers 100Mb/s as the maximum speed. Virgin has connections to 12.6 million homes, mostly in urban areas, making them one of the largest residential broadband providers in the UK.
Jon James, executive director of broadband at Virgin Media, said: “Demand for greater bandwidth is growing rapidly as more devices are able to connect to the internet and as more people go online simultaneously. Our growing network provides a highly competitive alternative to the fastest fibre networks of the future and, with our ongoing investment plans, we can anticipate and meet demand as it develops over time, ensuring Virgin Media business and residential customers continue to enjoy world-class broadband.”
The four companies involved in the trial are all in “creative industries” working with on-line video, broadcasting and interactive applications. Sam Orams, co-founder of BespokeBanter.com, one of the companies testing Virgin Media’s 1.5Gb broadband, said: “While the average home might not need these speeds quite yet, we certainly will. The internet is critical to what we do and intrinsically linked to our future growth so it’s exciting to be working with Virgin Media at the forefront of broadband innovation in the UK.”
The Virgin Media network uses DOCSIS3 and can bond several channels together to provide the data speed bought by the customer. Consequently, there’s a choice of different speeds (10 Mb/s, 30 Mb/s, 50 Mb/s, 100 Mb/s). Virgin currently offers 100 Mb/s in cabled areas for £35 per month. Regrettably, I’m not in one of those cabled areas and I’m stuck at about 3 Mb/s. Bah!
More bandwidth! I want more bandwidth! If I yell, can I get it? No? How about if I ask nicely?
Lots of us have yelled AND asked nicely. And in a year or so, we might just be able to get it. At least, another way of getting it. The FCC is prepared to vote on the provisions associated with making so-called “white space” between broadcast channels available for use with super Wi-Fi, service that will be faster have more range, and be more robust than current Wi-Fi. “Super” Wi-Fi should penetrate walls, as well, making the provision of this new Wi-Fi a huge player in the current broadband market.
It has taken two years for the FCC to complete the appropriate surveys of white space, and come to terms with broadcasters and wireless microphone manufacturers about how the space will be used and by whom. With the new provisions approved, development can finally occur. By 2011 CES, proof of concept devices should be on display, with actual primary devices becoming available within a year.
I, personally, can’t wait. A wireless signal that can go two or three miles, and offer speeds of 10 to 20 mbps to the home or business? No more worries about having to have fiber, cable, or copper installed?
Maybe I can seriously consider building that house on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere after all…
Satellite Internet providers WildBlue and HughesNet have said they are both working to upgrade their speed and availability “over the next few years.”
Really? Years? I realize it’s a major undertaking to shoot a satellite into orbit around our crowded planet. The time to have put those satellites in place was several years ago, or worst case, right now. Not several years from now. That boat sailed long ago, and any efforts to catch up that take more than a few months are likely never to show a return on investment.
Many of us, even in urban areas, would have gone with satellite-based Internet years ago, if it had been anything worth having. But satellite Internet speeds are incredibly slow, and outrageously expensive for service that amounts to enhanced dial-up. “Blazing speed” it isn’t; and your pocketbook will be that much poorer for having subscribed in the first place.
But of course, the satellite companies will continue to move this direction, for basically one reason. That’s because while the big wire providers (cable, telecoms) are refusing to move into rural and under-served areas, leaving those users with two choices; dial-up or satellite. All of those rural users wanting broadband, however slow, are going to have no choice but to sign up for satellite Internet. This of course gives WildBlue and Hughesnet big dollar signs in their eyes.
I would gladly and easily move to a rural area at the drop of a hat, and be happier for it. But the single thing that stops me is the unavailability of quality broadband services. Like most urbanites these days, I believe that reliable, fast broadband service should be a basic right, like electricity or water or telephone. I wish more of the big telecoms/cable providers felt the same way or had the incentive to feel that way.
The British Government has confessed that it doesn’t have sufficient money to meet the deadline of 2012 for a 2Mb/s broadband universal service. This commitment had been made by the previous government but was reconfirmed by the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, only last month in his speech at the Hospital Club in London. He further said, “Our goal is simple: within this parliament (2015) we want Britain to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe.”
However, speaking at the Broadband Delivery UK conference yesterday, Mr Hunt admitted that there was insufficient funding in place for these commitments and was pushing back the deadline for the 2Mb/s universal service to 2015 with no deadline for the superfast broadband. Only £175 million had been set aside as surplus from the Digitial Switchover project.
BT estimated that to equip Britain with superfast broadband will take £2 billion of public money and it has already invested £2.5 billion of its own money in fibre networks that will reach around 2/3rds of British homes. The additional money is needed to connect up those for whom it would be currently uneconomic to reach.
This also makes it difficult for the Government to fulfil the digital inclusion promises made on Monday by the UK Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox. Announcing the Manifesto for a Networked Nation last Monday, it sets the ambition that everyone of a working age should be online by 2015 and that no-one should retire without web skills.
The Manifesto also estimates that 10 million adults in the UK have never used the internet for reasons of motivation, access and skills. Nearly 4 million of these 10 million adults are over 65. Rural and coastal areas have the highest concentrations of over 65s who don’t use the internet.
Considering also that the supporting quango Digital Public Service Unit was closed down before it even got started, it’s no surprise that the Manifesto is looking to industry and charities as well as government to meet the ambitions.
Further, as reported in GNC previously, UK internet users have grown by 2 million in the last year , expecially in the over-50s. This suggests that the issues of motivation and skills appear to be resolving themselves and that the only restricting problem is that of access to broadband, fast or otherwise…..which the UK Government doesn’t have any money to help with.
Nothing like a bit of joined-up thinking.
The death of Senator Bryd at the age of 92, had me thinking about the technical advances he saw in his life time. That the fight to get those advances to the most people was being fought then and continues to be fought today. The battleground may have changed, but the arguments often repeat themselves. Today, the battle is over what is the best way to get broadband to the most people. In the 1930′s it was electricity. While 90% of all urban residents had electricity by the 1930′s only 10% of rural residence did. Electric companies of that time said it was too expensive to supply electricity to sparsely populated rural areas, that they could not justify the cost. Rural residents who were lucky enough to have electricity paid rates two times as high as those in urban areas. This was at a time when items such as refrigeration, the radio and the telephone, all which depended on electricity were coming into their own. Without electricity, rural areas were falling further and further behind their urban counter part.
Despite their unwillingness to build in rural areas, utility companies and their supporters fought against any kind of government involvement, They insisted that the free market would take care of the issue. By 1935 it was clear that the free market system was not working and that something had to be done to get electricity to the rural areas. To deal with the problem the Roosevelt administration, created the Rural Electric Administration. The REA supplied incentives in form of loans to private utilities to build the infrastructure to provide electricity in rural areas. In those areas where private companies could not or would not participate, the government encourage the formation of cooperatives which were established to provide electricity for coop members. By law these electric cooperatives could not compete directly against private companies. By the 1950′s nearly all rural areas had electricity either thru cooperatives or private industries.
My question is is it time for something similar to the REA to get high speed Internet or broadband to areas that are not being covered by private industries. Just as electricity was the backbone to much of the innovation of the 20th century, broadband will be the backbone of much of the innovation of the 21st century. As more and more business and communication is done on line, those who have no or slow Internet connection will get left further and further behind. Do we continue to depend on private industry to provide the broadband or do we consider other alternatives similar to the REA. What do you think