Satellilte's death brings down US broadband

The failure of a communications satellite over the weekend has knocked out US broadband services supplied by StarBand...

The failure of a communications satellite over the weekend has knocked out US broadband services supplied by StarBand Communications.

The total loss of Intelsat's Americas-7 satelllite forced StarBand to move customers to a different satellite. StarBand did not say how many subscribers were affected, but is attempting to provide them with a temporary dial-up service.

The company serves residential customers at download speeds of 150-500Kbps and small business customers at speeds up to 1Mbps. Subscribers use a 90cm satellite dish to send and receive signals.

Intelsat said Americas-7 had suffered a sudden and unexplained electrical breakdown and was permanently lost. Launched in September 1999, it covered North America, Central America and parts of South America. Intelsat said its IA-8 satellite, scheduled for a 17 December launch, may take over some of the lost services.

Intelsat said that the loss of Americas-7 could affect plans to sell the company. A consortium led by Zeus Holdings has bid for the company, but the total loss of the satellite gives Zeus the right to cancel the deal.

Paul Kallender writes for IDG News Service

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