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AT&T and The WildBlue Yonder

AT&T announced a push into satellite broadband access for rural customers by reselling service from Wildblue.

GigaOM has a quick summary, while Dailywireless.org (a great site) has more extensive technical detail for gearheads like you and me. The satellite protocol borrows heavily from DOCSIS, and runs at first generation DSL speeds (1.5M down, 256k up). This won’t set your hair on fire, but the rancher in Montana who has used dial up for 10 years will see this as a big improvement.

Triple play (adding voice to the mix) is an impossibility given the latency inherent with geosynchronous satelite altitude and the time it takes signals to bounce.

Satellite Video (DBS) Telco partnerships have been stealthly gaining traction. Coupling in satellite broadband throguh the same dish infrastructure for users who previously had no choice should accelerate the gains.

From IP Democracy:

DBS_Telco_subs

Wildblue offers the 1.5M service for $80 a month. That’s pretty steep for mainstream adoption and hopefully AT&T’s volume can help drive the cost down. Satellite is almost a completely fixed cost business, so if marketing can create good demand elasticity, you can make great money by increasing subs faster than ARPU drops. I would sure like to see this happen, as would the rancher in Montana.

Combine this offering with rural WiMAX from a competitor like Sprint or local Wi-Bell and consumers who previously had no broadband, let alone broadband choice, should have at least two providers.

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