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June 09, 2006

WildBlue Gaining Traction

All of a sudden the little satellite broadband provider I coincidentally signed up with early this week is gaining traction.  Today privately-held WildBlue announced five year agreements to be the exclusive wholesale provider behind retail satellite broadband offers from both DirecTV and EchoStar.

These two satellite TV companies between them have 27 million customers; WildBlue has 60,000 (these figures from the WSJ story). Obviously, a good percentage of satellite TV customers live in rural places where neither cable broadband nor telco DSL is available; these are excellent prospects for satellite access.

Several weeks ago WildBlue announced that AT&T would resell its service. According to Om Malik “Given that AT&T is a distributor of Echostar’s TV service, this is just one more flavor of the same deal.”  (At this point Om hasn’t commented on the DirecTV announcement.)

All of this makes it more important that WildBlue and/or Skype work to fix whatever suddenly broke Skype on WildBlue May 15. Earlier today, I posted on that problem and the fact that something apparently changed one week after the AT&T/WildBlue announcement and on the day when Skype announced free SkypeOut service for calls within the US and Canada.

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