Satcom Success at WildBlue

"Dude, I can’t handle dial-up anymore," is probably what people without broadband are saying. I know I can’t. For me, it’s either broadband or nothing at all.

And the number of broadband subscribers keeps growing. According to the OECD (Organization for Economic and Co-operative Development), the U.S. has the most households with broadband, but doesn’t rank in the top 10 in terms of penetration:



Seems the battle is being waged between cable and DSL providers. But what about people who are rural or ex-urban? Yes, WiMAX is building a following, notably via Clearwire. But satcom remains a viable option, with Hughes (HughesNet) and Spacenet (Starband) grabbing the early lead in providing national service. Now here comes WildBlue. Since launching their own spot-beam Ka-band satellite, they’ve been booking 1,000 and 1,500 new subscribers every week.



They’ve been so successful, in fact, that they’ve been turning away business in some coverage areas. Check this out, via

Satellite broadband provider WildBlue Communications is suspending sales across several beams due to capacity constraints. In a letter written to dealers this week, the company said it would begin to halt sales on three spot beams beginning Sept. 1.

According to the WildBlue’s Beam Sales Suspension Notice, sales of the company’s satellite broadband product have continued at a "record-breaking pace" since the launch of its new satellite, WildBlue-1. As a result, the company said, WildBlue is experiencing new capacity constraints in certain areas of the U.S.

The beams in question are 131, 132 and 133, which, the company said, are 85 percent full. "Because of this overwhelming demand for WildBlue broadband service, and in order to maintain maximum performance for all of our customers, we are unfortunately left with no choice but to begin our first WildBlue-1 beam suspensions," the company said. The beams in question cover much of eastern Texas and the majority of both Louisiana and Alabama.

WildBlue told its dealers that beginning Sept. 1 the company will suspend all marketing and will not take any new orders in these particular beams. The company also said it has prioritized the portion of the country served by these beams for the next software and hardware upgrades, and it would notify dealers in advance of any additional capacity as it becomes available.

"In an effort to continue to provide the highest quality service for all of our valued WildBlue customers, we carefully monitor and manage the capacity on each of our spot beams throughout the country," the company told SkyREPORT. "As a normal course of business we may from time to time decide to suspend new sales in certain areas of the country, again, so that we can maintain the high quality service that our customers have come to expect from WildBlue."




Wow. Even before the launch, I heard they were selling out some capacity on Anik-F2 over the Ohio River Valley. Now new capacity is being sold out. Good for WildBlue, I say.