Is satellite getting ready to become a much more attractive option for Internet? A California-based company is getting ready to launch a satellite into orbit within the next 3 years that promises to be the fastest satellite in the world in terms of how much data throughput it can sustain. The ViaSat-1 is expected to be launched sometime in 2011 and have a transfer capacity of 100 Gigabits per second, offering enough bandwidth to deliver 2Mbps service to 2 million people.
The biggest impact this would have for satellite services is a massive cost reduction in satellite traffic. Currently, most satellite providers impose low download limits, including both daily and monthly transfer limits. This can be a hindrance on the modern web, where streaming video is becoming a daily affair. According to some early estimations, the ViaSat-1 will be able to provide satellite bandwidth at only a tenth of the cost. Furthermore, the new satellite will offer more capacity than all current North American satellites combined.
Satellite service will hardly be able to compete with land-based connections for low-latency applications, such as games, but is often the only option left for people who live in areas where DSL, Cable, Cellular and Wireless Internet are not available. In large countries like the U.S. and Canada, that's still a considerable portion of the population – satellite remains as their last option, and unfortunately it tends to be a very expensive one. Perhaps with 100 Gigabits in the sky, it'll become a more affordable experience for those who want it.