Exede Internet, a high speed satellite service provided by ViaSat Inc., has revolutionized satellite Internet technology, and they could not have done so at a better time: last summer the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made their third annual National Broadband Progress Report. The results were less than impressive: 19 million Americans had no means of obtaining high speed Internet (more than five percent of the country) and about fifteen million lived in rural regions of the country deemed unprofitable by the closest broadband and cable providers.
In February, the FCC recognized the Exede satellite Internet service from ViaSat as one of the fastest in the United States, four times faster than comparable DSL services and eight times as fast as other satellite services. Satellite Internet services have a reputation of being slow and expensive, and the FCC had excluded satellite services from previous performance reports on high speed Internet in the United States. But now ViaSat Inc. has greatly improved satellite Internet and the FCC has taken notice, reporting that Exede Internet is even faster than its promised upload and download speeds.
The FCC released findings from the 2013 edition of “Measuring Broadband America: A Report on Consumer Wire line Performance in the United Sates,” an annual nationwide study. Conducted last fall, the study measures the actual service performance for thousands of residential broadband subscribers against advertised speeds and included comparisons of DSL, cable, fiber and satellite Internet services. 2013 marks the first time the FCC has included satellite Internet in the survey, as it had been previously too slow to measure. That is, until Exede became involved.
With an advertised download speed of 12 MB per second, ViaSat’s Exede is the fastest satellite service in the history of satellite Internet, though still slightly lagging behind cable and fiber connections for overall performance. However, the FCC noted that of all Internet providers, Exede Internet most consistently met or surpassed advertised speeds, while fiber and cable struggled to live up to the hype in certain parts of the country.
“In our testing, we found that during peak periods, 90 percent of ViaSat consumers received 140 percent or better of the advertised speed of 12 MB per second,” the report said. “In addition, there was very little difference between peak and non peak performance.” Exede customers were typically getting about 16.5 megabits per second instead of the 12 megabits per second, according to the report. The service starts at $50 a month, with a 10 GB per month usage capacity, though Exede offers five free hours of data cap every night, 365 days a year. Exede also offers several tiers which offer more data consumption for a higher monthly subscription fee.
ViaSat launched the ViaSat 1 satellite network in October 2012 after premiering the Exede service last spring. ViaSat 1 was intended to boost upload and download speeds and improve overall service. ViaSat 1 has turned out to be the highest capacity satellite in the world. Not only has the satellite network improved Exede Internet tremendously, but it has been sought out by the United States Navy and military to provide real time communications during combat situations, as well as chosen by the American Red Cross Disaster Services to provide communications during disaster scenarios such as blizzards and hurricanes.
“Our goal has always been to give our Exede customers the most consistent broadband experience, and it’s good to have objective data showing we delivered on our promise to deliver great speeds,” ViaSat Chief Executive Mark Dankberg said in a statement. “It’s especially important to us that the data was collected from Exede subscribers and that the FCC offered us the opportunity to be ranked side by side against DSL and cable services.”
Exede is currently a finalist for the 2013 Edison Awards, to go along with several awards gained in 2012 along with major military contracts and a partnership with the American Red Cross. ViaSat’s satellite Internet business ended the December quarter with 467,000 total subscribers, compared with 429,000 the prior quarter. For the third consecutive financial quarter, ViaSat surpassed Wall Street projections by several million dollars. Bundle Exede Internet with Direct TV today and save $120 over the first twelve months of service.
Last year the United States ranked 16th on an International Telecommunications Union list of broadband access per capita. The Exede service from ViaSat is aimed at delivering high speed Internet to rural America and already covers seventy percent of the nation, including Alaska and Hawaii. ViaSat Inc. estimates that forty percent of their customers have come from unsatisfactory DSL and dial up providers. The 2013 Edison Awards will be held next month.