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New High-Speed Broadband Service Planned

Satellite services delivering the Internet that I've looked at all have three things in common: high cost, low speeds and high latency. I was surprised to see a news press from Hughes (PDF) announcing a deal with Barrett Xplore to provide over 10 Gbps of capacity on Hughes' new Jupiter satellite. The Ka-band Jupiter satellite will use an enhanced version of the IpoS (Internet over satellite) standard approved by ETSI, TIA and ITU standards organizations to provide a total capacity of more than 100 Gbps.

"Jupiter will enable Barrett Xplore to provide significantly enhanced service offerings to our current customers, and offer additional capacity to serve hundreds of thousands of rural Canadian households," said John Maduri, CEO at Barrett Xplore. "This considerable investment in satellite capacity demonstrates Barrett's ongoing commitment to rural broadband and strengthens our ability to reach all rural Canadian households with cost-effective, high-speed Internet."

He added that the company would be able to provide "unparalleled speeds and bandwidth," and that residential service packages would be offered at up to 10 Mbps, and that business customers could expect packages with speeds of up to 25 Mbps.

Similar services are planned in the United States.

"By using Jupiter, Barrett Xplore will be able to deliver the same kind of exciting, high-speed satellite services to Canadians that Hughes intends to bring to subscribers across the U.S.," said Mike Cook, Hughes senior vice president. "[I]ncluding those living in areas unserved or underserved by terrestrial broadband."

Although there may be some issues may remain with latency and rain fade, this Ka-band satellite technology could be a viable alternative to shutting down off-air TV to expand broadband access, especially in rural areas.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.