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RealTime IT News

Satellite Broadband To Drop in Out of WildBlue

WildBlue Communications, a Denver, Colorado-based broadband provider, has signed a five-year exclusive deal bringing broadband Internet to Dish and DirecTV satellite subscribers.

The pact will focus on small town and rural markets, the companies said. When it launches this fall, the service will carry the Dish and DirectTV brand names: "Dish Highspeed Internet," a spokesperson said.

You'll have to wait on availability and pricing. None has been released, yet.

The deal is a "turning point" for WildBlue, said CEO David Leonard in a statement. AT&T's attention has helped put WildBlue on a bigger map.

In May, AT&T picked the company to test satellite as one option for bringing broadband to rural customers. That service will be called "AT&T High Speed Internet Access," as previously reported by internetnews.com.

More people get their Internet service through their pay-TV provider, according to EchoStar. While satellite will never compete with DSL or cable Internet, "it's increasingly important for satellite providers to offer broadband," noted Joe Laszlo of Jupiter Research.

DirecTV and EchoStar have a combined total of 27 million customers nationwide. Of DirecTV’s 15 million subscribers, only 5 million have broadband, according to Patti Reali of Gartner. "The rest have either dial-up or nothing."

Along with requiring satellite customers to install a second dish, subscribers interested in broadband will have to pay more than cable or DSL. Where $40 will get you a 5MB/sec cable modem connection, a 1.5MB/sec satellite broadband service will cost $79.99 per month. Additional hardware will cost $179 for satellite, compared to DSL or cable, said Reali.

That's the deal for many folks living outside the cities and economies of scale they offer to many subscribers. After all, added added Reali, "satellite is the only [Internet] technology in rural areas."