French satellite operator Eutelsat SA and U.S. equipment provider ViaSat Inc. have formed a partnership intended to make Internet access via satellite more competitive. The goal is to deliver faster, more flexible and less expensive broadband connections than those typically provided by existing satellite or ground-based rivals on both sides of the Atlantic.
Each company has committed to separately build and launch a satellite, at a combined cost of around $700 million, with 10 to 15 times greater capacity than many already in orbit. The companies also will share technical advances, marketing concepts and capital expenditures as they look to offer wholesale services to distributors. Eutelsat hopes to launch its satellite in 2010, with ViaSat scheduled about a year later. In the U.S., the Internet connections are expected to cost between $49 and $79 a month. In the U.S., roughly 700,000 mainly rural customers get Internet via satellite, according to satellite-industry officials. That compares with about 24 million DSL and fiber users, 37 million cable-modem users and an estimated 21 million with dial-up services.
[Source:WSJ] via Benton