AT&T Enters Satellite Broadband Ring
A large percentage of the U.S. is still dialing up Internet service, especially in rural areas where broadband is unavailable due to lack of infrastructure. The expense of laying that infrastructure has Internet providers looking to satellite-based services as a work-around.
Satellite services have yet to reach the speeds offered by DSL or cable lines, but they still leave dial-up with a proper dusting. HughesNet, considered to be one company at the forefront of rural broadband, offers satellite connections speeds of up to 700 Kbps for residential services.
Telecommunications giant AT&T is also getting into the game by partnering with Wildblue Communications to sell Wildblue’s satellite broadband services. Later in May, “AT&T High Speed Internet Access, powered by WildBlue,” will start expanding into a 13-state area without DSL lines.
The pricing for satellite service is a drawback for both HughesNet and WildBlue. With AT&T’s Wildblue service, customers pay $80 per month for 1.5 Mbps, the same speed DSL subscribers pay just $13 for. For $50, customers can get 512 Kbps.
It may be considered aggressive pricing though, given that HughesNet offers its services for as low as $59.99 per month for 700 Kbps. The barrier is the installation however. Installation and equipment run HughesNet customers upwards of $600.
Neither company announced if AT&T’s Wildblue service would require installation and equipment costs, but Wildblue’s stand alone service currently offers a free installation promotion. Customers still have to foot the $299 equipment price.