PENASCO, N.M. -- After five years of enduring Internet access that provided dial-up speeds for uploading and rarely exceeded 1Mbps down, I now cruise along in my home office on the edge of a wilderness area at 7.5Mbps for downloads. My uploads are 30 times faster at 1.5Mbps.
The path to my recent broadband liberation began on a day last fall when that slow satellite connection went dark for an entire day. A malfunction with the satellite literally caused it to shut down and turn away from the Earth. In the process of reporting the story for CNET, I came across a tangentially related tidbit about the launch of a new satellite, called ViaSat-1, which would soon be in orbit and providing new speed and capacity for my satellite Internet provider (WildBlue, which is a subsidiary of ViaSat).
I shared the good news with my family, but didn't plan to hold my breath for the upgrade to trickle down anytime soon through the layers of middlemen and resellers standing between that beautiful new bird in orbit and my Wi-Fi router. If you've read the rest of this week-long series or live in the sticks yourself, you know how new and exciting infrastructure can remain out of grasp, even when it's physically so close to home.… Read more