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ViaSat & WildBlue Launching $50, 12 Mbps Service Next Week
Though Company's Murky on Caps, Other Restrictions
by Karl Bode 11:03AM Monday Jan 09 2012
ViaSat this week is at CES promoting their new 12 Mbps satellite broadband service, which they say they'll launch next week for $50 a month. Aided by their recent successful launch of ViaSat 1, the company's new tier will be offered starting January 16th through both WildBlue and -- according to this press release -- National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative ISPs.

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As we've noted previously there's the usual satellite catch: the service will not only be throttled, it will come with a usage cap ViaSat's being murky about (it looks to be around 7.5 GB), and may even include overage fees or the ability for users to buy additional buckets of bytes.

In a video presentation recorded at CES, ViaSat insists they're over-provisioning bandwidth so consumers have a good experience -- something traditionally not the case if you examine our users' WildBlue service reviews.

Historically satellite providers have struggled to deliver advertised speeds on loaded satellites. As seen in the video the ViaSat representative also references the fact the new service uses new "web acceleration technology" which, like the service's cap, ViaSat hasn't been particularly clear about.

Still, when you consider WildBlue's current 400,000 customers pay $80 for 1.5 Mbps, it won't take much to improve on existing offerings. When you also consider the fact that at several points over the last few years WildBlue has had to turn away paying customers because they lacked the capacity to serve them, the new capacity offered by ViaSat-1 is certainly a good thing.

We'll hopefully have some hands-on impressions by customers next week who can help clarify the new service's cap and other limitations. If you're giving the new service a spin, please drop us a line with your impressions.

Update: We've been told by ViaSat that the company should have more details on price and caps tomorrow when the new service is officially unveiled.

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