Thursday, April 28, 2011

Satellite companies win stimulus funds for "broadband" to rural areas

From August of last year: Satellite companies win stimulus funds | Denver Business Journal:

"Colorado satellite companies WildBlue Communications and EchoStar XI have won nearly $34 million in federal stimulus money to supply satellite Internet access to rural areas....The RUS awards...added a competitive wrinkle for the satellite providers. The RUS awarded $58.7 million to Germantown Md.-based Hughes Network Systems for discounted satellite broadband it can offer unserved rural customers nationwide.That creates the possibility of WildBlue and EchoStar XI facing competition from Hughes for customers wanting services discounted with stimulus funding."

If you have ever used satellite Internet, which is NOT broadband, you will know it is a frustrating technology at best, and no substitute for a wire/cable/fiber connection to the Internet. So handing out close to $100 million to companies that are not wiring rural communities seems like an inappropriate use of funds. Reminds us of when the mobile home manufacturers persuaded the Bureau of Indian Affairs to hand out down payments for mobile homes.

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