Hughes, Wal-Mart Provide Satellite Broadband To Rural Customers

By | October 10, 2007 | Feature, Telecom

[10-10-07 – Satellite News] Hughes Network Systems LLC is reaching out to rural broadband internet users by partnering with a familiar company.

Hughes will begin selling its HughesNet satellite broadband services in 2,800 Wal-Mart stores around the country, offering customers with a clear view of the southern sky but no access to cable or DSL services a new option.

"Wal-Mart is a store that reaches deep into areas that we provide our services to,”Peter Gulla, vice president of marketing at Hughes Network Systems, said. "They focus on areas that are underserved by other providers. The sheer number of stores plus their ability to service rural America makes this a great partnership.”

Installation and hardware, included the antenna and transmitter, are included in the upfront cost of $399.98, and customers will have three service plans to choose from. The fastest plan is the Pro Plus plan, which offers download speeds up to 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps) for $79.99 a month. The Pro plan offers speeds of 1 Mbps, and the Home Basic Plan gives up to 700 kilobits per second. Prices are comparable to what Hughes offers customers on its Web site.

Andrea Maleter, technical director for Futron, a technology analysis firm based in Bethesda, Md., said there is a need for this service, and Wal-Mart was a great choice for Hughes.
"This is a way of creating a different type of relationship,” Maleter said. "[It’s] a way for Hughes to be able to leverage the tremendous reach of Wal-Mart into the consumer market. Wal-Mart has a tremendous presence in rural America.”

"It’s always helpful to have a local presence [and] to have a name like Wal-Mart acknowledge that satellite broadband exists,”said Gulla. "There is still a good part of the market that’s unavailable to landline Internet”but who still want to run a small business out of their homes.

According to the Comsys 2005 VSAT Report, Hughes has provided the Wal-Mart corporate offices with a dedicated VSAT network since 1985.

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