WorldCom said Tuesday that it will offer high-speed satellite Internet access to small businesses and large companies through satellite operator Hughes Network Systems. WorldCom will rebrand and resell Hughes' Directway satellite service to its customers to provide alternative forms of access in areas where other broadband service options might be limited or nonexistent. WorldCom will handle duties like customer support, billing and installation of the satellite dishes, while Hughes has agreed to provide WorldCom's customers with a level of guaranteed service.
Pricing will be similar to WorldCom's business DSL (digital subscriber line) service, which costs about $120 for a 128 kbps (kilobits per second) connection, and $160 for a 384 kbps connection, roughly between 2.3 and 6.9 times faster than a standard dial-up modem. A company representative said the satellite service will cost slightly more because it offers faster downstream connection speeds from the satellite to the customer at 600 kbps, 800 kbps and 1000 kbps.