It hasn’t taken long for ViaSat subsidiary and satellite broadband service provider WildBlue Communications to start leveraging the successful launch of its parent company’s ViaSat-1 broadband satellite, the highest capacity telecoms satellite in world history. WildBlue last week began offering 12 Mbps satellite broadband in Colorado for $50 month. A “soft launch” is expected in neighboring states of Nebraska and Wyoming in coming weeks, according to a Denver Post report.

With nationwide subscriber base of 400,000, WildBlue’s customers outside of Colorado currently pay $80 a month for 1.5 Mbps service, the Denver Post’s Andy Vuong notes. Thanks to the successful deployment of ViaSat-1, WildBlue expects to launch the new, faster service nationwide by the end of February.

WildBlue believes the new service will prove attractive to rural and underserved customers in the U.S., particularly those lacking faster broadband connections. “Historically, satellite has been for the unserved — you have no other technology, then satellite is for you,” said WildBlue chief executive Tom Moore. “We think this will transform that marketplace. There are probably somewhere between 10 and 20 million homes that are either unserved or underserved.”

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The new WildBlue-ViaSat-1 service will be competitive with “fast as fiber” service offerings from the likes of CenturyLink and Comcast, according to Vuong’s report. Customers do need to pay for installation of a satellite dish, which can cost as much as $250, however. I suspect FTTH, and even DSL and cable modem based service providers will take issue with ViaSat’s “fast as fiber” marketing message.

ViaSat is looking to expand the reach of their satellite broadband offerings beyond rural broadband. JetBlue will be offering broadband services via ViaSat-1 on its U.S. flights. ViaSat is installing antennas on JetBlue aircraft and the service is expected to be up and running in the next 18 months. The Carlsbad, CA-based satellite telecommunications provider is also in the early stages of discussing installing a similar service for Continental Airlines, Moore told Vuong.

ViaSat-1 can serve as many as 1.5 million customers at the faster speeds. Moore told Vuong that WildBlue won’t charge based on speed, but rather on data consumption, along the lines for 4G service packages from cell phone providers, another potential competitive issue to be resolved in the marketplace.

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8 thoughts on “WildBlue: 12 Mbps Satellite Broadband for $50

  1. So let's see… 70G capacity/1.5M users = 0.047M per user. So say with caching and magic you were able to attain 100x over-subscription, that's still less than 5M per user (which is actually pretty phenomenal for satellite). I agree with you that they would have a tough time selling the "fast as fiber" message.

    We're needing to double our capacity to our upstream providers about every 10 – 12 months. And while we are adding broadband users, it is evident that much of the growth is happening from usage. I'd wager to say it is in part due to the number of devices now connected in the home (computer, tablets, cell phones, game consoles, TVs).

    While this will have an impact, I think that consumption needs from their customers will outpace the ability to deliver.

  2. Is this just a repackaging of the old Wildblue with the measure usage? If you have a busy first week of the month, you could be waiting until next month when your bit-bucket resets?

  3. What happens to those existing customers at $80 month for 1.5 Mbps. Can they simply sign up for this new service. If so, seems like they won't have the capacity to add too many more subscribers – won't most of their existing base simply move over to the new package?

    1. Just talked to Wildblue. They are offering their long time customers first divs. I agree many existing customers with move over to the new packages. I do not see any room for more customers!?!? They are promising 12 Mbps, capped at 15GB [upload and download] for $80. Thing is, it will reset each month. I was frustrated before because , my usage NEVER went below 60%. I had to unplug my modem and not use it in order to reduce my %! I will prob go for the 25 GB for $129 and cancel my usb modem. My cost will be the same. My teenager wants to game online [xbox live], if he can not he will torture me. I sure hope they will have fixed the latency issues? Any thought?

    1. Absolutely…I install this service for a living …make no mistake about it… the goal is to part you from your money…also the new system requires a different dish with a different tria and a different modem..lot faster …still completely sucks compared to Comcast or Verizon

    1. Hi I am a wild blue installer i check the ping time and speeds on every install so far about 650ms ping is the best and speak easy gives a more acurate speed test then speedtest.net iv see speeds of 15mbs and as low as 3 and nothing increases the speed on the one at 3mbs new modem new tria and about 40 foot of wire just ran and still 3 mbs and retuned the dish about 10 times no improvement and it was a sunny day this has happend on 4 occasions so far

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