Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Satellilte Internet customers condemned to broadband purgatory

Satellite Internet providers serve about 10 percent of the U.S. that is mired in broadband black holes, according to one of them, Hughes Communications. And they believe they'll have a lock on this captive market for the foreseeable, betting the wire line telco/cable duopoly won't ever serve these areas. AT&T reinforces this grim reality, making satellite a key element of its broadband initiatives.

Their customers face a purgatory of sluggish connections slowed by the 46,000 mile round trip from their computers to satellites that they must share with thousands of other customers, unlike the commercial and military users of the technology.

"If you look at this industry ten years from now, there's still a good chance consumers will still be unhappy. And the reason is that satellite bandwidth is extremely expensive," said Randy Scott, manager at VSAT U.S., a Monument, Colo., company that installs satellite dishes for commercial customers. HughesNet is one of the companies he works with.

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