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WildBlue’s Satellite ISP Federal Stimulus: Gov’t. Helps Defray Cost of 1Mbps ‘Fraudband’

Get government subsidized satellite "broadband" at speeds up to 1Mbps, as long as you honor strict usage limitations.

With much fanfare, ViaSat’s WildBlue has unveiled a special discounted satellite “broadband” offer that comes courtesy of United States government taxpayer funding:

WildBlue’s same great service at an ultra-low price, courtesy of the U.S. government.

WildBlue, through the U.S. Recovery Act brings a special offer for high-speed Internet to areas unserved by wireline providers. It’s the most affordable deal we’ve ever offered, and the monthly price for this special package is guaranteed for as long as you remain a WildBlue customer. Take advantage of government funds to get High Speed Internet at discounted rates.

For $39.95 per month, WildBlue will provide the satellite equipment to deliver qualified subscribers up to 1Mbps service, subject to a monthly download limit as low as 7.5GB per month for downloads, 2.3GB per month for uploads.  Customers who exceed the limits will have their 1Mbps service throttled to near-dial-up speed until usage falls below the company’s “fair access policy.”

WildBlue explains the limited-time offer is made possible by funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Through a grant from the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS), certain rural customers might qualify for the discounted pricing.

WildBlue only received authorization to deliver the discounted service to locations west of the Mississippi — specifically those not within an existing RUS project zone, are located in a defined rural area, and cannot receive service from a telephone, cable, or fiber provider.  Current WildBlue customers also do not qualify.

The grant funding covers installation and equipment charges, the client only pays for the service itself.  But would-be customers are required to commit to at least one year of service or face an early termination penalty and must pass a credit check.

WildBlue customers, as well as those of other satellite providers, have given satellite Internet access low satisfaction scores, primarily because of speed and usage limitation issues.  But for some without any other choice, it is a service they live with for basic web access.

Currently there is 1 comment on this Article:

  1. Rick says:

    I know that satellite “fraudband” has a bad reputation, but
    I really don’t think that it deserves that label. Yes, it’s got
    latency issues, there are bandwidth caps, and it’s not
    broadband by current conventions. It’s the only choice
    for some new residents around here, though (despite the
    National Broadband Map’s claim that we have five
    land-based carriers covering this area).

    I used WildBlue for a year before finding an alternative and,
    unlike the ever lower-speed DSL option that I switched to
    when it briefly opened up, it met the quoted speed. It was
    also quite reliable. I had 15 minutes total downtime in
    the year that I used it. Qwest blew through that on DSL
    in the first week. Finally, customer service was
    invariably useful.

    Yes – it’s a bad situation to be in, but if you’re rural
    and there’s no choice, it’s not fraud. Just painful. It’s
    a lot less painful than 19.2kbps dialup, though.

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