Satellite Internet -- like DSL, cable Internet, and fiber-optic Internet -- is one form of broadband, or high-speed, Internet service. Satellite Internet, along with certain long-range wireless technologies, is an effective solution for providing broadband Internet service to those in rural and otherwise underserved areas. AT&T, already a major national Internet provider, has begun offering satellite Internet service.
Like other forms of broadband Internet, satellite Internet is delivered digitally, meaning all information is downloaded and uploaded as "bits" of data. Satellite Internet can be costly, due to the necessary purchase of a satellite receiver dish, a satellite modem and other hardware, but as more companies, and major companies such as AT&T, move into the market, costs will begin to go down.
AT&T Satellite Internet
AT&T now provides satellite Internet service, which is available to customers in many areas where broadband service was previously unavailable. The company provides its satellite service through WildBlue, a company that also provides satellite Internet independently. The service includes spam and anti-virus filters and email accounts. Although it does not offer the bells and whistles connected to AT&T's other broadband services, its principal attraction is simply its ability to provide broadband services to unreached areas.
AT&T Wireless Internet
AT&T also provides wireless Internet services in certain locations. Although both wireless and satellite Internet do not require a connection to a network of cables, these services differ greatly in both technology and availability. Wireless Internet, or Wi-Fi, delivers Internet service through radio technology, not via satellite, and is available only where the company's wireless network extends -- generally well populated and metropolitan areas.
Other AT&T Internet Options
AT&T also offers two other form of broadband Internet service: DSL and U-verse. AT&T's DSL Internet service provides a high-speed digital connection transmitted via traditional copper telephone lines and wires. AT&T's U-verse Internet service is delivered digitally using fiber-optic technology. Both services are available only where AT&T's networks of cables and lines extend.
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