Satellite Broadband Gets to Europe

Looking to go check out the Northern Lights in Europe, but afraid the lack of a solid connection to the net will prevent you from convincing the boss you can work in the Arctic Circle? Well, have no fear, according to CNET UK, it looks like even the farthest reaches of Europe will be wired just in time for a summer roll-out in June and in place in time for next year’s show.

The expansion will, employing Eutelsat’s birds, use ViaSat’s Surfbeam system (the same one SES-Americom started using with enterprise customers a couple of years ago) to bring two-way broadband Internet connections to EU citizens in Germany, Switzerland, Spain & Portugal who live in areas that don’t generally have access to wire and wireless-based broadband.  The hub will be run by Skylogic from the SkyPark teleport in Turin, Italy, home of the 2006 Winter Olympics. The full story can be found in a surprisingly informative press release on ViaSat’s site.

The even better news for those in Europe looking to connect via satellite is that you may not have to pay an arm-and-a-leg or necessarily suffer with dial-up technology for uploads. Wildblue, the company utilizing the two-way satellite broadband technology in the states, has been around for around two years and seems to be charging rates that are comparable to wired-broadband rates in some of the country’s more expensive markets (between $50-80/month) with upload speeds starting at 128Kbps. While equipment fees might eat away at some of the initial savings, the possibility of being able to do your work and watch nature’s greatest light show at the top of the world? Well, that’s priceless.