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Hughes Network Systems says that is making its HughesNet Fusion offering that will reduce latency in satellite communications available in select markets.

HughesNet Fusion combines geostationary (GEO) satellites and wireless technology to work around latency issues. In some cases, low earth orbit (LEO) satellites will be part of the platform.

The goal is to leverage the benefits of GEOs – which Hughes says include low cost, reliability, dense capacity and widespread availability – and multipath connectivity in a way that confronts latency challenges of GEOs, which orbit more than 22,000 miles above the earth.

“We are rapidly entering an era in which hybrid connectivity—both multi-transport and multi-orbit—will be commonplace,” Hughes president Pradman Kaul said in a press release. “To realize that connected future, at Hughes we are integrating different transports with smart technologies and managed services to create a dynamic, always-on, connected environment that we call the ActiveComms Ecosystem. The HughesNet Fusion plans are an outcome of that approach.”

The technology was previewed at the SATELLITE conference in March. The company says that HughesNet Fusion data plans that provide 25 Mbps downloads and “No Hard Data Limits” now are available in select regions across the United States. Other markets across the country will be announced later this year, the company says.

Hughes says that it plans to launch what it says is the ultra-high density JUPITER 3 satellite next year. This will enable download speeds of 100 Mbps.

The proliferation of high speed broadband is a challenge to satellite companies whose flagship platforms are orbiting so far away. It may be a different story for LEOs, however. In April 2021, ABI Research said that LEOs may enable the satellite sector to have more than 5 million subscribers by 2026.

One of the biggest names in the LEO sector is Starlink, which is part of Elon Musk’s SpaceX. As of the time of the ABI report, Starlink aimed to serve more than 600,000 homes and businesses in the United States.

Starlink got bad news in August, however, when the FCC rejected its long-form Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) application. The company had been tentatively slated to receive nearly $900 million in RDOF funding to bring broadband to unserved areas.

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