WildBlue Communications said it has multiplied the speed of its satellite-based internet service, from 1.5 Mbps on the downstream to nearly 18 Mbps.

The speed increase was attributed to several factors, including higher-power satellites and more efficient encoding technology.

The company is conducting a demo of the faster service near the Colorado State Capitol in Denver, with the aim of attracting the attention of the Federal agencies looking to create a rural broadband policy and distribute funds to support broadband policy goals.

Since satellite-based Internet access requires no physical terrestrial infrastructure, WildBlue hopes to convince the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to set aside money to subsidize WildBlue’s consumer premises equipment (CPE).

The company claims nearly 400,000 WildBlue customers in the rural U.S.

More Broadband Direct 04/27/09:
•  Wireless boosts Verizon's Q1 results; iPhone still up in air
•  USDA OKs CommScope's FTTH system
•  WildBlue significantly increases broadband speeds
•  Limelight's motion for judgment granted
•  Level 3, IPtimize formalize relationship
•  Report: NEC Electronics, Renesas near merger
•  Broadband Briefs for 04/27/09