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ViaSat Rolls 25-Meg Satellite Broadband

Broadening its pursuit of consumers in rural markets while also taking on DSL services and lower-end cable Internet competitors, ViaSat has introduced a new satellite-delivered speed tier under the “Exede” brand that offers up to 25 Mbps downstream that’s delivered via a new WiFi modem.

ViaSat, which has 687,000 subscribers, said its new, speedier modem features a built-in wireless router with dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n, a four-port Gigabit Ethernet router,  and an integrated Exede Voice adapter for the company’s optional home phone service that reduces device clutter, as it eliminates the need for a separate adapter or base station.

The new offering more than doubles the downstream speed supported by Exede’s former high-end offering, which delivers up to 12 Mbps down.  The new 25 Mbps offering is paired with an upstream that provides up to 3 Mbps.

ViaSat said the new WiFi modem with the 25-meg capability is offered in “limited markets” with service plans that start “as low as $10 per month than the cost of Exede 12 Mbps service plans.” According to a company official, the new plan costs $10 extra for most plans, and $20, if added to the company’s promotional $39.99 plan in some areas.

Exede’s 12 Mbps plans start at $59.99 per month (with 10 gigabytes of data); then rise to $99.99 per month (with 18 GB) and $149.99 per month (with a 30 GB data plan).

The new 25 Mbps offering is “just a hint of what’s to come as we prepare for the launch of our next satellite, which will offer even faster speeds nationwide,” Lisa Scalpone, VP of ViaSat’s Braodband Services division, said in a release.

ViaSat’s also been asked to provide more detail on the data plans for the new 25 Mbps offering.

ViaSat’s various data plans include monthly data usage/allowance policies.

ViaSat’s new 25 Mbps Exede service uses the company’s Liberty plans (12 GB/18 GB/30 GB of “priority data,” plus the company’s “Liberty Pass").  In ViaSat’s Freedom areas, the limit is 150GB per month before customers experience reduced speeds until the next monthly billing period starts.

Under the Liberty plans, customers get a monthly supply of “priority data” delivered at the fastest available data speeds. Once that monthly usage threshold is crossed, customers automatically get a “Liberty Pass” that shifts users to speeds of 1 Mbps to 5 Mbps that are based on network traffic levels and typically vary based on the time of day the customer is accessing the service. 

 This video explains the Liberty plans in more simplified detail.