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An offshoot of DirecTV that allows people to get high-speed internet over a satellite dish. It is one of the only broadband options available to people in rural areas.

I don't use the service...every time I've thought about it, I've read opinions that it sucks. It has several drawbacks:
  • Download Only - You can only receive data from the satellite link. Therefore you must use (and pay for) a dial-up ISP to upload data, and therefore it's not an always-on connection.
  • Hardware - You must buy special hardware including a dish that doesn't match the DirecTV dish. They have a combo dish called DirecDuo that does the TV and PC for more $. The hardware is not very cheap.
  • Pricing - They charge by the number of hours you use...which could get expensive for heavy use.
  • Bandwidth throttling - I've heard that DirecPC cuts back on the bandwidth of heavy users...sort of defeating the purpose of using the dish for big downloads in the first place.
  • Geosynchronous Orbit - Data must be beamed up to the satellite and then down to you, taking a long trip through space. This means that while bulk data transfers can be quick, response to your click on a link won't be.
Not too impressive. I guess we who don't live in the big cities will just have to wait for DSL or Cable Modems to trickle down.

Another option might be Starband which is a 2-way satellite connection...expensive too.
As a user of DirecPC, I am mostly satisfied. Sure its a bit expensive ($35/month + ISP fees) but at least they have an unlimited use plan now.

I've gotten hit with the bandwidth throttle many a time, and this causes your download speed to go from a Good Thing to a Bad Thing in a heartbeat. Ping times are horrible (you thought 400-800 made you an HPB? Try 1500-3000)

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