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HughesNet replaces, expands DirecWay

Hughes Network Services today is launching its new ISP brand name, along with a new suite of services targeting consumers, as well as its more traditional business customers. HughesNet will now be an alternative broadband service provider for consumers in rural and other outlying areas who cannot get reasonably priced DSL or cable services.

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HughesNet satellite-based ISP service replaces the DirecWay brand, adopted when Hughes was part of the DirecTV family, and will more directly serve consumers and small businesses, as well as offering more services to its larger business and government customers, said Mike Cook, Hughes senior vice president of North America.

“We are now an independent company, 100% owned by Hughes Communications, and we are repositioning all of our services,” he said. “Our new brand name, HughesNet, will mean different things for different markets.”

The flagship part of that service is a high availability network that uses both satellite and terrestrial services such as DSL to offer a broadband network with speeds up to T1 and high availability, Cook said. Policy-based routing of traffic will choose either the satellite or terrestrial path for individual services, optimizing quality and cost on a per-application, he said. In addition, there are automatic fail-over procedures that re-route traffic on the alternate path in the event of an outage of problem.

“We think we are the only ones integrating satellite and DSL in this fashion,” Cook said.

Hughes will also offer services that give customers one option for service – either satellite or terrestrial – for a lower cost, as well as a third option which uses terrestrial service as a primary means of delivery and satellite as a backup. The company will be reselling terrestrial services from existing wholesale providers such as Sprint and XO Communications.

“We will be offering a suite of digital media services which includes digital signage, business IPTV and use of those things for training applications and other digital content delivery,” Cook said. “We are a top tier managed service provider today – we have more sites under management than AT&T, MCI or Sprint. But we didn’t have the range of services – now we are increasing the scope of our services.”

Many of its managed service customers today are large corporations with distributed networks such as gas companies, retail and financial operations. Today Hughes services more than 200 large enterprise customers, including networks of as many as 13,000 sites, Cook said.

“For some others, we just do field service,” he said. “But where we provide the full suite of managed services it’s about 110,000 sites in North America.”

For the small business and consumer market, HughesNet will be a full-service ISP, and not just a broadband access provider, Cook said.

“Today we have about 275,000 consumer and small business subs to DirecWay,” he said. “All of those subcribers are in areas which are underserved by terrestrial technology -- cable and DSL. Our whole positioning is that we want to make sure that consumers and small businesses in those underserved areas get high-quality broadband. We think that market is somewhere in the region of 10 to 15 million households and about 3.5 million small businesses.”

Hughes will be offering email, domain name support, Web and blog hosting. And other services, wrapped around its broadband access offerings, Cook said.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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