Satellite Internet Making Inroads on the Backroads

It’s hard to believe for some of us who think of dial-up internet as a thing of the past, but up to 10 million Americans who live in our nation’s most remote places still don’t have the option of DSL or cable internet.

But dial up won’t suffice in today’s age of YouTube and World of Warcraft, so what to do?

The answer is satellite broadband Internet. 

We’ve written in the past about several of the players in the market, such as Wild Blue, HughesNet, and Spacenet’s Starband.  But today we want to focus on SkyWay USA, which touts itself as "rural America’s low-cost satellite provider."


For just $49 in equipment costs (after a rebate) and a monthly basic subscription of $29.95, you can be up and running with SkyWay USA in a matter of days. Installation is so easy, according to this press release (caution if you’re still on dial-up: opens in PDF) that Skyway claims they’ve even had a 69 year old grandmother install the system.

So how does it work?

Skyways use a hybrid or combination model, using your phone line for sending commands (upload) and satellite for content (download).

For capacity, they use Echostar Fixed Satellite Services — at least according to MarketWatch. (On their own website, SkyWay says it is partnering with SES Americom.)

FSS is the division of EchoStar that uses DISH Network’s excess capacity. Dean Olmstead,  who was behind the AMERICOM2Home concept, notes that SkyWay USA will be using both the Ku- and Ka-band capacity of Echostar FSS.