If you’re holding your breath for Mac compatible satellite Internet service in North America … well, can you hold it for six months or more? For a while, it looked like such service might be arriving any day, but apparently it’s not going to happen anytime soon.
On April 22, the folks at Hughes Network Systems (HNS), a provider of broadband satellite solutions, said they were shipping a new satellite terminal, the DW4020, that would extend the reach of the DirecWay two-way satellite broadband service from Windows based computers to Macs, Unix-based systems and other platforms. That sounded like good news to Mac users who could certainly use satellite Internet access.
However, contrary to earlier reports, while the Hughes- DirecWay arrangement is designed to offer satellite broadband to enterprises and businesses, it won’t be made available for home users in the near future. Kurt Rahn, a spokesperson for EarthLink, an Internet service provider in which Apple has an investment, told MacCentral that Hughes doesn’t plan to offer a consumer version until the end of 2002 or even early 2003.
Earlier this year MacCentral reported that EarthLink’s long-planned satellite Internet access for the Mac platform was at a standstill because, according to EarthLink officials, they’re “at the mercy of Hughes Network Systems (the network provider for their satellite service) as far as a Mac version of the service goes.”
“Basically with satellite, we’re at the mercy of Hughes Network Systems as far as a Mac version of the service goes,” Rahn said. “We’ve been lobbying them for a Mac version of the software required to run the service, but so far, none has been forthcoming. Obviously, as Apple’s official ISP partner, we want to offer all our services to the Mac community, so we’ll keep on rallying for a Mac version.”
Also, last month satellite TV firm EchoStar Communications and EarthLink announced that they had established “a strategic marketing alliance” to provide EarthLink’s high speed Internet access via EchoStar’s DISH Network. But, again, there’s nothing for Mac users in the deal.
“The EchoStar deal really doesn’t have anything to do with satellite per se,” Rahn said. “EchoStar resells our DSL services. If you call EchoStar and want DSL services, ours is one that will be available. But EarthLink isn’t reselling EchoStar’s satellite service.”