The service, dubbed Juno Express Powered by DirecPC, is the fourth leg in
broadband family of services, originally
launched in March.
Juno satellite express customers will be able to attain downstream speeds
of up to 400 kilobits per second through the connection, with upstream
rates dependent on the users modem and telephone line. The two companies
plan to support two-way satellite functionality in 2001.
Paul Gaske, Hughes
consumer division executive vice
president and general manager, said the upcoming satellite program would
provide a competitive alternative to other broadband services.
“Pound for pound, the service will be priced very competitively with other
high-speed options,” Gaske said. “Even when our two-way satellite service
is deployed, we plan on keeping our costs competitive with the industry.”
Gary Baker, Juno vice president of public relations, said the partnership
completes the groundwork for its nationwide broadband network incorporating
cable, digital subscriber line, satellite and fixed wireless services,
under its Juno Express line-up.
“There isn’t a very large amount of people taking advantage of broadband
access right now, but that’s going to change within the next couple of
years,” Baker said. “Right now, we’re laying a foundation for our
customers to take advantage of in the near future.”
Pricing is not set for the satellite service, but Baker said the prices
will be comparable to other broadband services. Hughes DirecPC customers
currently pay $50 a month for family service plans.
Customers will also need to purchase a small satellite dish and a Universal
Serial Bus connected modem. Pricing has not been announced for the
residential products, but officials plan to establish dish prices at market
value, currently around $149.
Baker said DSL is the only current broadband service customers can pick-up
from Juno through a deal with Covad
The firm also partnered with
nationwide cable services and Metricom
Inc. to eventually provided fixed wireless high-speed services.
Toby Bryce, Juno senior vice president for corporate development, said his
company would be able to provide Internet access anywhere, including rural
and sparsely-populated regions, around the U.S.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Hughes to offer our customers this
revolutionary new form of Internet access,” Bryce said. “The addition of
Hughes’ DirecPC as a broadband platform will expand our coverage throughout
the continental U.S.”
“This strategic relationship will make Juno one of the first Internet
access providers to offer a truly nationwide broadband service, moving us
closer to our goal of offering the full range of Internet access options to
our millions of subscribers, regardless of where they live,” Bryce added.
Hughes also partnered with America Online
Inc. to provide satellite service to its customers through its AOL
Plus and AOL TV services. Last year, America Online
a $1.5 billion stake in the company to move into the satellite service arena.