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Hughes: Satellite Broadband Has 1M ‘Active Users’

Satellite-delivered broadband subscriber totals hardly put a dent in the overall U.S. broadband market, but Hughes Network Systems appears to be making progress in rural areas and other markets that are relatively untouched by terrestrial broadband.

Hughes, a subsidiary of EchoStar, announced this week that it had has become the first the exceed 1 million “active users” in North America for satellite-delivered Internet services. That total factors in Hughes’ retail and wholesale subs and additional users getting service through third-party operator with capacity deals. Corporate cousin Dish Network and  DirecTV are among Hughes’ key partners.

By comparison, the top 17 U.S. cable operators and telcos finished the second quarter with 85.9 million broadband subs, according to Leichtman Research Group.

Hughes’ platform is based on Ka-band satellites, and is now using a fourth-generation system to deliver broadband to residential and business customers.

HughesNet currently offers four tiers that are encumbered with monthly data caps. Its top-end tier, Power MAX, offers 15 Mbps down and 2 Mbps, sells for $129.99 per month, and capped at 40 Gigabytes. Connect, it’s starter tier, offers 5 Mbps down/1 Mbps up for $49.99 per  month, and caps usage at 10 GB per month. Hughes is running a promo through September 30 that cuts the monthly subscription price by $10 for the first three months, so long as customers agree to a two-year contract.

“Hughes and its partners are attracting thousands of new subscribers each month as more and more people realize they don’t have to choose between living where they want and staying connected with high-speed Internet access,” said Pradman Kaul, president of Hughes, in a statement. “Today just about anyone in North America can enjoy the many entertainment, business and educational benefits that come with high-quality broadband connectivity.”