WildBlue Cranks Up Satellite Broadband Speeds

Here's a look at what's making cable waves as the week gets underway.

  • Satellite broadband service provider WildBlue Communications has introduced a 12Mbit/s (downstream) tier for US$50 a month in Colorado, with national availability slated for Feb. 2012, reports The Denver Post. The new tier, fed by its recently launched ViaSat-1 high-capacity satellite, trumps WildBlue's more limited 1.5Mbit/s that is currently serving about 400,000 subs for a hefty $80 per month. WildBlue is targeting rural markets that are unserved and underserved by wired broadband service and is reportedly talking turkey with Continental Airlines. (See ViaSat Acquires WildBlue and WildBlue Makes Stimulus Pitch .)

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) insists its 1-Gig fiber experiment in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., isn't a flight-of-fancy loss leader. "This is not a charity. It's not a nonprofit. It's not a dot.org initiative," Google Access GM Kevin Lo tells The Kansas City Star in a lengthy feature article about the project. "We expect to make money at it. It's a business we expect to be in." (See Google's Fiber Engineers Descend on Kansas City and Google's 1-Gig Fiber Winner: Kansas City, KS.)

  • U.S. consumers watch about 21 hours of TV per week, two hours more than in 2010, Motorola Mobility LLC found in its latest Media Engagement Barometer, which studied the global video consumption habits of 9,000 consumers in 16 markets. Among other findings, 23 percent of U.S. respondents now watch TV on their smartphones, a five-fold increase from 2010.

  • The 2012 American Cable Association (ACA) Summit is set for March 13-15 in Washington, D.C., where retrans consent, content distribution and broadband deployment will be on the docket.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:46:44 PM
    re: WildBlue Cranks Up Satellite Broadband Speeds

    Will need to see how much upstream they're giving with this (guessing it's not a lot), but 12Mbit/s seems pretty respectable for satellite bb compared to where it's been.  But the gear required has been pricey historically but I think this is a good option that appears to be getting better as Wildblue gets access to more capacity. But defintiely a non-starter in markets with decent wired broadband options. JB

    AESerm 12/5/2012 | 4:46:43 PM
    re: WildBlue Cranks Up Satellite Broadband Speeds

    This will be interesting to watch. Of course, as you've probably already noted Jeff, Google generated a tremendous amount of publicity/good will in hosting the 1 Gig fiber contest. So they're already seeing some (prepaid) return on the investment.

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:46:41 PM
    re: WildBlue Cranks Up Satellite Broadband Speeds

    They did, indeed, and my old hometown on Highlands Ranch, Colo., lost out on the Google fiber sweepstakes. My new town, Bryn Mawr, Pa., didn't jump into the fray. But they could use some help on the wireless/mobile end... my neighborhood is a Sprint deadzone, prompting me to get a free femtocell. It's working wonders... five bars everywhere in the house. But I digress. JB


    craigdolphin 12/5/2012 | 4:46:39 PM
    re: WildBlue Cranks Up Satellite Broadband Speeds

    No this isn't actually any better than it has been until now. True, the speeds sound impressive: a veritable firehose of data compares to the old garden hose. The big problem is that the total amount of data you're allowed is not increasing along with the rate of data transfer. In other words, you STILL can't really use this for watching streaming video or movies, or downloading large files (games, dlc, cloud storage/backup) etc. The monthly caps are 7.5 GB, 15 GB, or 25 GB which compare rather badly to the more usual caps of 150 GB for DSL, or 250 GB for cable. And you're paying significantly more money for the privilege.


    If you have any choice at all, avoid Satellite internet as it is only usable for web surfing and email. Latency is too high for voip or gaming. Caps are too low for anything that requires bandwidth. And if you do have to go with satellite, I'd suggest hughes net remains a better deal because at least they have an unmetered middle-of-the-night option for downloading large files. Hardly ideal, but at least it's somehting. I know I'll be switching back to hughes as soon as my contract can be cancelled with wild blue.

    Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:46:39 PM
    re: WildBlue Cranks Up Satellite Broadband Speeds

    You're living in someplace called Bryn Mawr? Dude. Buy a vowel.

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