Satellite on the Brink of…Something

Satellite Internet providers WildBlue and HughesNet have said they are both working to upgrade their speed and availability “over the next few years.”

Really?  Years?  I realize it’s a major undertaking to shoot a satellite into orbit around our crowded planet.  The time to have put those satellites in place was several years ago, or worst case, right now.  Not several years from now.  That boat sailed long ago, and any efforts to catch up that take more than a few months are likely never to show a return on investment.

Many of us, even in urban areas, would have gone with satellite-based Internet years ago, if it had been anything worth having.  But satellite Internet speeds are incredibly slow, and outrageously expensive for service that amounts to enhanced dial-up.  “Blazing speed” it isn’t; and your pocketbook will be that much poorer for having subscribed in the first place.

But of course, the satellite companies will continue to move this direction, for basically one reason.  That’s because while the big wire providers (cable, telecoms) are refusing to move into rural and under-served areas, leaving those users with two choices; dial-up or satellite.  All of those rural users wanting broadband, however slow, are going to have no choice but to sign up for satellite Internet.  This of course gives WildBlue and Hughesnet big dollar signs in their eyes.

I would gladly and easily move to a rural area at the drop of a hat, and be happier for it.  But the single thing that stops me is the unavailability of quality broadband services.  Like most urbanites these days, I believe that reliable, fast broadband service should be a basic right, like electricity or water or telephone.  I wish more of the big telecoms/cable providers felt the same way or had the incentive to feel that way.