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WildBlue hatches high-capacity bird

Wed, 03/21/2007 - 7:30am
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

WildBlue Communications has started offering high-speed Internet services via WildBlue-1, a new satellite that promises to triple capacity and enable it to offer services to north of 750,000 customers.

WildBlue launched satellite broadband services in June 2005 via the Anik F2 satellite. The company, which targets rural areas and markets underserved (or completely unserved) by high-speed cable modem and DSL lines, said it has more than 130,000 customers.

WildBlue, which will continue to utilize Anik F2, said the new Ka-band spot beam satellite will provide coverage for the contiguous United States by Q2 2007. Currently, capacity is set aside for customers in the continental U.S.

On the low end, WildBlue charges $49.95 per month for its “Value Pak,” which sets the cap at 512 kbps down/128 kbps upstream. The Select Pak ($69.95 per month) offers 1 Mbps/200 kbps, and the Pro Pak ($79.95 per month) clocks in at 1.5 Mbps/256 kbps. The requisite equipment (a 28-inch x 26-inch “mini-dish” and modem) costs $299.

In concert with the capacity expansion, WildBlue is offering new customers one free month of service if they sign up in March or April.

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