If you can’t get DSL or cable modem access in your area but you’re still hankering for high-speed Internet access for your Mac, you may be in luck. It turns out that Internet service provider EarthLink is rolling out a new service called
EarthLink Satellite Powered by DirecPC. Historically, Hughes’ DirecPC service has been PC-only, but EarthLink tells MacCentral that it’s working on Macintosh support for the product.
The new EarthLink service utilizes a small satellite dish. It’s the Internet access counterpart to DirecTV, the satellite television broadcasting service. In fact, EarthLink subscribers can opt for DirecDuo service if they prefer, which combines both Internet access and television. It’s a two-way system providing up to 400Kbps of downstream speed and an upstream speed of up to 128Kbps, according to EarthLink. This is a big improvement over older implementations of satellite broadband connectivity, which provided users with a big pipe downstream, but limited upstream speeds to dialup access only, since the connection with the satellite was effectively one-way.
EarthLink’s director of corporate communications, Kurt Rahn, told MacCentral that the company is definitely anticipating offering the service to Mac users, though Rahn could not say when the Mac rollout of EarthLink’s satellite service would be ready.
“We are working with both Hughes and Apple to develop drivers to support the product on the Macintosh,” said Rahn.
Now, EarthLink Satellite Powered by DirecPC is considerably more expensive than DSL or cable — in addition to the US$69.95 monthly fee, it costs a one time fee of $649 to install, plus another $250 for installation. Still, if you live in an area that isn’t serviced by cable modem access or DSL, it’s probably the only game in town.
EarthLink is rolling out the service regionally on the East Coast of the US, with a full-scale nationwide rollout planned before the end of the month. The service will provide broadband coverage for most of the continental US, according to EarthLink.