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Hughesnet and Wildblue: Two Options for Satellite-Based Internet Connection

Satellite internet is often the best (and only) option for interconnectivity in areas where more conventional internet connections are unavailable. Of the service providers currently active, two companies stand out for having the widest coverage and number of subscribers: Hughesnet and Wildblue.

A backgrounder on Hughesnet
Hughesnet Network System, LLC or HNS is one of the subsidiaries of Hughes Communications, Inc. Its parent company is SkyTerra Communications, Inc. Hughesnet is the company's satellite internet provider.

Currently, Hughesnet is the leader in satellite internet services. Its over three decades of global operations experience has produced more than 325,000 subscribers in the U.S. It also currently supports 1 million systems in more than 80 countries. In 2004, Hughesnet claimed more than half of the worldwide market.

HNS is also a pioneer in the development and deployment of satellite internet access. It was Hughesnet that created and developed the small aperture terminal (VSAT), more commonly known as the small satellite dish more than 20 years ago. As a result, Hughesnet allowed individuals, businesses and other commercial enterprises to take advantage of the flexible and reliable Internet connectivity that can only be obtained through satellite internet access.

A backgrounder on Wildblue
Wildblue is a relative newcomer to the satellite internet service industry but it's determined to be considered as a serious contender. It's been operational since 1995 when it was first founded in Colorado as KaStar Satellite Communications.

Wildblue internet service became operational in the middle of 2005, a year after it was granted access to the Anik F2 telecoms satellite of Telesat Canada. It was also in 2005 when the first Wildblue subscriber began using its satellite internet services. Its second satellite was launched just a couple of years later.

Wildblue deployed a total of 5 gateways across the continental U.S. and Canada to manage their subscriber's satellite access. Each gateway is made up of Internet, microwave and broadband equipment for routing traffic from the subscriber's computer to access the Internet and vice versa.

Initially, Wildblue's service area coverage was limited to rural locations in the U.S. It has continued to expand from there. From its goal of installing 25,000 subscribers by the end of 2005, Wildblue now services 150,000 customers nationwide.

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