Hughes expands Internet offer

FRAMINGHAM (09/29/2003) - Hughes Network Systems Inc. (HNS) this week is expected to announce an enhanced version of its satellite Internet access service.

HNS says it's launching its Direcway DW6000 terminal that will allow users to support multiple PCs or Macs in a home office. Previous versions of the satellite service provider's service limited users to connecting a single PC to a terminal.

For the first time users are now able to connect Macintosh computers to the service, but only if they deploy the service provider's new terminal.

HNS Direcway service is an alternative to Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) or cable modem broadband services, but only in areas where these offerings are not available. While Direcway offers a similar service that allows users to jump from dial-up to broadband service, it's not as economical as DSL or cable modem.

Customers can expect to pay US$60 per month for the standard service, which allows for two simultaneous broadband connections. Business users that want a static IP address and dial-up access for remote connections should expect to pay $80 per month for HNS' Professional Direcway option.

While the monthly service charges are a bit higher than DSL or cable, the equipment costs are a lot higher. HNS charges $600 for its DW6000 terminal. Many DSL service providers bundle customer premise equipment with their service at no additional cost.

But for users in rural areas, Direcway may be the only broadband service available. The service supports 500K bit/sec downstream and 120K bit/sec upstream.

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