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WildBlue Urging Stimulus Funds for Satellite Internet Service

Colorado-based WildBlue Communications now delivers Internet service to about 400,000 (motly rural) American households at speeds of up to 1.5 Mbps downstream and 256 kbps upstream.

With funding and maybe some federally back loans for pricey satellite investments, the company figured it could produce speeds of up to 10 Mbps.

WildBlue demonstrated its technology on Capitol Hill Thursday, and is gunning for some of the so-called stimulus funds (from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) toward developing the technology and the business.

Lots of city folk, tied to cable and DSL Internet, have misconceptions about satellite Internet service, complaining about latency and slow upstream data rates caused by reliance on dialup or whatever Internet service is available locally. The WildBlue system sends upstream signals directly to one of two satellites using a 4 W transmitter; the satellites bounce upstream info down ton one of 11 Earth stations connected with the Internet. It tackles latency through techniques including parallel streaming (in which up to 16 streams work in concert) and by pre-downloading content of some pages (say, stories within a news site) when a site’s home page is reached.

The company is in Washington reminding officials about satellite Internet technology in the context of the stimulus funding as well as the FCC initiative to establish a nationwide broadband plan.