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WorldCom to launch satellite ISP

WorldCom has announced plans to launch a satellite Internet broadband service for the US in early 2002.

The satellite service will offer download bandwidth in a general operating range of 600Kbps to 800K bps.

WorldCom is pitching the satellite service to business customers, offering multicasting, data-casting and interactive services for remote users. WorldCom will offer Virtual Private Networking (VPN) services which allow remote users to access corporate networks.

WorldCom is re-branding the Direcway satellite infrastructure from Hughes Network Systems. Hughes uses geosynchronous stationary orbiting satellites to deliver Internet service to ground terminals.

A satellite internet service may appeal to consumers caught in areas unserved by other broadband options. However, the initial costs associated with a satellite service may limit its appeal to consumers. Many service providers bundle satellite TV services with the Internet service, allowing customers to combine equipment and installation costs for two services at once.

WorldCom has not partnered with a satellite TV service provider for bundled Internet service, but a Hughes dish installed for TV can be adapted to add Internet service, a WorldCom spokeswoman said.

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