25 years of satellite internet: Helping connect people to what matters most


Posted: April 27, 2022 | Word Count: 555

Not easily spotted, but always working behind the scenes, satellites are a big part of our modern digital world, making a positive impact on our lives in many ways each day. Whether you are using the map app on your phone, watching your favorite TV shows or catching a flight out of town, it’s all possible thanks to satellite connectivity.

Another way satellites touch our lives is by providing internet access. Since its invention 25 years ago, satellite internet has been a staple for millions of rurally located homes and businesses across the country and has grown to support email, social media, web browsing, watching videos and more. Plus, it’s available right now, no matter where you live.

History of satellite internet

In the mid-1990s, people accessed the internet using dial-up modems connecting over telephone lines. To improve the experience, engineers at Hughes applied satellite technology to transmit large files. That innovation shortened internet download times from over an hour to just 90 seconds.

Soon after, the company launched HughesNet®, the first national, high-speed satellite internet service. It connects more than a million subscribers across the U.S. today, and Hughes engineers continue to innovate and advance the service for HughesNet customers and satellite internet users worldwide.

Accessibility

While you’re probably familiar with cable and fiber optic internet services, satellite internet is a lifeline for millions of people all over the U.S. and the world. Satellite internet reaches places where fiber and cable don’t. These are often areas with fewer residents, where it’s less profitable for companies to build their towers and lay their wires.

On the other hand, satellite internet is available everywhere, right now, helping people check emails, stay in touch with friends and family, share photos, attend classes, listen to music, explore interests, catch up on all the latest news, access critical health information, run their businesses and so much more.

A hobbyist’s best friend

Twenty-five years on, and satellite internet is an important part of many people’s lives — for enjoying their hobbies, as an example. With satellite internet, hobbyists — even in the most rural of areas — have the ability to pursue their interests or even turn their hobbies into business ventures. “I use satellite internet to purchase 90% of my fabric online and sell my outfits online,” said Martha D, a seamstress from rural Mississippi who uses HughesNet. “My internet service is my lifeline!”

Need for speed

Satellite internet has become much faster over the last 25 years. When internet first launched in the 1990s, plans started at 400 Kbps, and in-home Wi-Fi was just a dream. Even 10 years ago, the average internet download speed was around 5 Mbps, which pales compared to today’s broadband speeds of 25 Mbps. Companies like Hughes continue to advance the speed and effectiveness of satellite internet. In fact, the Hughes JUPITER™ 3 satellite, which is due to launch in 2022, will make it possible for customers to enjoy plans with speeds of up to 100 Mbps!

Satellite internet is here to stay and advancing every day, with even more innovations — like the JUPITER 3 satellite from Hughes — on the horizon. To learn more about the history and technology of satellite internet and how it can help connect you to the people and things that matter most, visit HughesNet.com.

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