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Affordable Connectivity

Some Americans lack money. This has always been true, but especially in the last two years. And with all of the financial pressure we face, broadband internet service could be out of reach for some of us. With this in mind, HughesNet has joined the FCC Affordable Connectivity Program.

What IS affordable internet access anyway? – World Wide Web Foundation

Under its terms, each household can get up to a $30.00 monthly credit against broadband bills. For residents of tribal lands, the monthly credit could be up to $75.00.

In addition, the program does not require credit checks or annual contracts.

Qualifying is simple, and you can apply online or by mail. Getting in is a three-step process:

The first step is to visit the FCC website to see if you qualify. The second is to submit your application. The final step is to call Satellite Country with the verification code the FCC gives you.

Where is the affordable broadband available?

HughesNet service is available everywhere in the continental U.S. You can even get it in rural areas where telecom and cable networks don’t exist. All you need is a clear line of site to the southern sky for the satellite dish.

If you live in an apartment, though, you may need landlord permission to mount the dish on the building.

What do you get with HughesNet?

HughesNet satellite internet service is true broadband, with download speeds of 25 megabits per second and upload speeds of 3 MB/S.

Through Satellite Country, you can get any of four affordable HughesNet data plans, from 15 gigabytes per month to 75 G gigabytes per month. All plans come with built-in WiFi.

CALL 1-855-216-0185

To function well in the modern world, you need a reliable internet connection. To get the best deals, shop with Satellite Country. We can help. Call today.

CALL 1-855-216-0185

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Prepare for the Coming of Jupiter III

If you’re an American customer of HughesNet now, you can expect to see a significant service upgrade soon. The satellite internet system will launch Jupiter III, an advanced high-capacity satellite.

EchoStar buys Jupiter-3 “ultra high density satellite” from SSL - SpaceNews

The launch was scheduled for early in the year, but was delayed by Covid-19. This is not unusual. Many businesses in America have had to delay product or marketing moves because of the virus. But it won’t be with us forever.

By current estimates, the launch will occur in the first quarter of 2022.

Why is Jupiter III important?

The new satellite is important because of the massively increased capacity it offers. JupiterIII will add 500 to 550 gigabits. With the spike in capacity, HughesNet can offer speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (MB/S) with some plans. The current top download speed with all plans is 25 MB/S.

The additional capacity is all the more necessary given the lockdowns we’ve suffered- and will continue to suffer in some areas. With more of us working from home, we’re spending more time on the internet.

HughesNet has seen solid growth in its customer base lately. For the third quarter, the company added 38,000 broadband subscribers. This expands its subscriber total to 1.58 million.

Why do you need HughesNet?

Unlike cable or telecom internet, HughesNet is available almost everywhere in the U.S. This includes rural areas which otherwise couldn’t get broadband service.

HughesNet currently offers download speeds of up to 25 MB/S. This meets the FCC’s definition of true broadband, and it’s enough for almost all web functions: e-mail, surfing, and watching video.

Wherever you live, you need a reliable internet connection. To find the right plan for you, Contact HughesNet through Satellite Country. We can help you find the service that meets your needs and budget. Call now. We can help.

Call 1-855-216-0185

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California Enacts New Privacy Law

The Golden State claims to have blazed a trail in the protection of online privacy.  The California legislature has passed, and Governor Jerry Brown has signed, an online privacy bill that its supporters say requires full disclosure and the right to opt out of data sharing and third-party sharing. The consumer will also be able to delete collected data if he wishes.

Image result for california images

Some consumer advocates are unsatisfied with the bill. They say that businesses should be required to obtain opt-in consent before collecting or sharing user data. Some internet service providers and online advertisers fiercely opposed the bill, though, so it couldn’t have been entirely toothless.

All parties will have ample time to adapt to the new law. It won’t be in force until 2020.

Was the privacy bill necessary?

Advocates of the privacy law point to recent events that they say indicate need for action. Among these are a pattern of serious data breaches, Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data, scrutiny of tech platforms by Congress, and the FCC’s handing off of online privacy concerns to the FTC.

An even tougher data privacy bill had been scheduled for placement on this November’s ballot. Now that the California legislature has acted, though, the sponsors of this tougher bill have agreed to abandon their effort.

The lobby that most actively promoted the bill is Common Sense Media. Two Democrats, Senator Robert Hertzberg and Assemblyman Ed Chau, introduced it n the legislature.

Did anyone object?

Some analysts say the new law will bring more harm than good. The critics argue that web users gladly exchange personal data for free goods and services. The new law would inhibit these exchanges. Web users, then, would miss out on many essential services- or would have to pay for them.

Some privacy advocates say the California law doesn’t go far enough. They want the ‘opt out’ standard replaced with ‘opt in’. In other words, ISPs, browsers, and social media couldn’t collect user data without express consent from users. Under the the new privacy standard, consumers can opt out of sharing or commercial use of their data. But they have to act affirmatively to do so. They waive their online privacy unless they remember to act affirmatively to protect it.

The new law incorporates a separate children’s rights section. This section does require opt in parental consent for sale of data from minors under 16 yeas old. The law provides for fines and lawsuits for breaches of this section.

Will other states follow suit?

Will California’s online privacy bill be a model for other states? It’s too early to tell. The state’s political and cultural climates are so unusual, it can be difficult to predict when its accepted practices will be adopted elsewhere.


(For the most reliable internet connection, contact Satellite Country. We can help.)

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End of ‘Net Neutrality’

The sky has not fallen. Armageddon has passed evidently passed us by. We have not seen the Great Tribulation that was expected to fall on us on June 11, with the official end of the FCC’s Title II ‘net neutrality‘ internet rules.

Image result for net neutrality images

Without the regulations, we were told, the web wouldn’t work properly. Disaster would follow: fire and brimstone, floods, earthquakes, mass extinction, dogs and cats living together- real Wrath of God stuff. At the very least, we’d see our content requests blocked or slowed, with frustratingly long buffering of music and video. Of our afflictions there would be no end.

Why hasn’t the sky fallen?

So far, none of the dire predictions has been realized. We haven’t seen ISPs rushing to raise rates, block or slow content, or otherwise restrict internet access.

In fact, most ISPs have announced plans to develop advanced 5G systems. They are investing massive amounts in creation of new networks and expansion of existing ones. These investments had been retarded under the Title II web rules, because ISPs did not want to risk capital in an uncertain regulatory climate. The FCC had too much discretion, and ISPs could not be sure how it would rule from one case to another. With the end of the Title II framework, ISPs are more certain about what the law allows.

What happens now?

Does this mean the industry is finally at peace? Will the advocates of the restricitve web rules admit that they could have been wrong? Don’t bet on it. Though the legal battle over Title II is settled- for now- the political quarrel is nowhere near its end.

The industry is sharply divided over the issue. Google and Facebook have argued strenuously for retaining the Title II rules for ISPs, while Verizon and AT&T called for their abolition.

Several states, and some municipal governments, have said that they will enact ‘net neutrality’ rules on their own.  This effort has encountered stiff resistance. Roslyn Slayton is a scholar for the American Enterprise Institute who served on Mr. Trump’s transition team. Slayton said to CNN, “It’s patently illegal for the states to make their own internet policy.”

The Trump Administration is likely to join some of the larger ISPs in lawsuits against state attempts to regulate the web.

UPDATE:  We’ve received word that an effort to enact a state ‘net neutrality’ law has stalled in the California legislature.

What does it all mean anyway?

‘Net neutrality’ is the principle that an internet service provider (ISP) should treat all data equally. An ISP should not block, slow, or charge extra for any data based on the user, application, website, platform, connected equipment, or means of communication.

The Title II web rules are extensions of the 1934 Telecommunications Act. Under its terms, an ISP is to be regulated like as a ‘common carrier’, like a land line telephone exchange.


(For the most reliable internet connection, talk to Satellite Country. We can help.)


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‘Net Neutrality’: Is It Doomed?

For the internet industry, the regulatory climate may be facing a dramatic shakeup. The Federal Communications Commission has scheduled a December 14 vote on possible repeal of Title II web regulations. These rules are meant to promote what is known as ‘net neutrality’.

Image result for net neutrality images

‘Net neutrality’ is the concept that all data on the web should be treated alike. Internet service providers (ISP) should not discriminate by platform, content, website, application, or user. An ISP would not be allowed to block, throttle (slow down), or charge extra for access to specific websites or online content.

What fed the demand for ‘net neutrality’?

The matter became a live political issue in 2004, when Comcast throttled uploads of peer-to-peer file sharing apps such as BitTorrent. Despite public protest, Comcast did not stop the throttling until the FCC ordered it to do so. AT&T, Verizon, and other ISPs were also accused of blocking or throttling specific content. Some were accused of giving favorable treatment to data from corporate partners, including TV networks.

In 2014, the FCC received more than 3.7 million complaints about blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. The following year, the commission ruled that the internet is a telecommunications service. An ISP, then, is a ‘common carrier’ subject to regulation under Title II of the 1934 Telecommunications Act. The web would be regulated like any public utility.

Resistance to the New Rules

The Title II rules faced fierce criticism from the cable and telecom industries. Some claimed the rules would inhibit investment in internet systems. This would delay or prevent improvement in equipment or networks. In any case, the leading ISPs said, the rules went far beyond the FCC’s legal mandate.

Ajit Pai, the current FCC chairman, said that the current ‘net neutrality’ rules discourage innovation. Less innovation, he said, means less competition. This in in turn, he said, keeps prices high.

Pai says repeal of the Title II internet rules will foster competition, make broadband more widely available, and bring prices down. His critics say the move would only make the larger ISPs more dominant. The largest cable and telecom systems would enjoy near-monopolies on the flow of information.

Who’s right? We may find out after December 14.


(For the strongest internet connection, talk to us. We can help.)



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Hurricanes Harvey and Irma reminded us how vulnerable we can be. We’ve learned from bitter experience that our utility, travel, and communication networks can fail at critical moments. Internet systems are no exception. We’ve found that they’re often no better at weathering disasters than our other public infrastructures are. And when internet systems fail, they’re often out of service for weeks- even months- on end.

Related image

When underground cable and fiber systems are flooded, their networks are usually destroyed. It takes time to rebuild them. Wireline internet service, then, is likely to be unavailable in affected areas for several weeks at least.

John Stankey, CEO of the AT&T Entertainment Group, recently spelled out how serious the problem can be. He said that Hurricane Harvey devastated his company’s networks in the Houston area. Fully restoring all networks, he said, will be expensive. It will, he said, require “a multi-year commitment”.

Wired networks can be poor at weathering natural disasters. Severe storms often force extended outages.

With a satellite system, though, you can avoid ground-based infrastructure completely. Restoring service takes very little time.

No communication system is entirely weather-proof. But no matter how severe the storm, your satellite service will usually be up again within a few hours after it passes. This almost never happens with flooded cable systems.

With satellite internet, you’re not dependent on a massive local network. This leaves you more flexibility to live where you want to. You can more easily locate your business where you want to.


All satellite internet systems are independent of local networks. HughesNet is the only one, though, confirmed by the FCC to deliver true broadband speed. HughesNet has also been independently rated first among all internet systems for reaching advertised speeds. That’s among ALL internet systems- not just satellite.


(Does your current internet service fail at weathering setbacks?  Do you need something more reliable? Talk to Satellite Country. We can help.)



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Severe storms are no fun for any of us. In addition to the obvious hardships they bring, they can knock cable, telecom, and wireless communication systems out of service for weeks or even months on end.

Image result for hurricane harvey images

How has the Houston area fared?

Hurricane Harvey was especially brutal. Though other hurricanes have packed higher wind speeds, Harvey caused more damage because it parked over southeast Texas for several days. While stalled, it dumped more than fifty inches of rain on the area in only four days. This is a new record. It’s even more than famously-wet Seattle got in all of 2016.

Harvey’s effect on cable systems has been catastrophic.

On August 28, two days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Comcast said it would suspend operations in the affected area. Comcast is the largest cable firm in the U.S.

On September 6, the FCC reported that on Friday, September 1, six days after Harvey’s landfall, more than 270,000 cable TV and internet in the affected area subscribers still lacked service. In addition, two TV stations and nine radio stations were still off the air.

It’s possible that the FCC understated the service outages. Some subscribers have yet to report service loss, since they face more pressing concerns.

What does the future hold?

John Stankey, CEO of the AT&T Entertainment Group, ratified the FCC’s grim assessment. Speaking at a media conference in Las Vegas, he said his company expects a spike in ‘cord-cutting’ figures for the third quarter. Much of this- though not all- he attributes to Hurricane Harvey. Comparing it to Hurricane Katrina (2005), Stankey said that full restoration of all communication networks will be expensive, requiring a “multi-year commitment”.

At the same media conference, a Comcast spokesman said his company expects to lose 100,000 to 150,000 subscribers in the third quarter. Much of this loss he attributes to Hurricane Harvey.

Expect several months to pass, then, before all cable services in the Houston area are fully restored.

What can you do?

Wherever you live, you have no guarantee that you won’t suffer extreme weather or other natural disasters. But there are a few steps by which you can protect yourself.

For reliable TV and internet service, consider a satellite system. Severe weather can affect it, but is unlikely to cause outages lasting days, weeks, or months. Usually, your service will return once the storm passes.


(For the HughesNet service that’s meets your needs, contact Satellite Country. Talk to us. We can help.)

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 100 MB/S Satellite Internet Service in 2021

Launching a New Satellite

HughesNet already offers the fastest consumer satellite internet service in the United States. The ISP isn’t finished upgrading its system, though. On August 11, it announced plans to launch a new satellite to enable download speeds of 100 megabits per second (100 MB/S).

The company said its new satellite will be operating in early 2021, and will be dubbed Echostar XXIV.  HughesNet says the new bird will serve “key markets” in the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, and several other countries in South America, doubling the company’s Ka-band capacity in the Americas. The 100 MB/S service tier will be  available where HughesNet currently offers Gen5 service.

Following Gen5

In March, HughesNet inaugurated what it called the Gen5 service platform. Since, then, it’s been moving subscribers into Gen5, which offers download speeds of 25 MB/S.

This is the the fastest speed available with any satellite internet service.

Peter Gulla, HughesNet’s SVP of marketing, spoke to Multichannel News last week. Gulla said, “Right now, it (25 MB/S) seems to be meeting the needs of our customers. But that doesn’t mean that’s the end of the line.”

Hughes has offered its internet services primarily in rural areas. It plans, though, to move into some suburban and urban markets where DSL service is weak.

About HughesNet:

HughesNet has provided satellite-based communication services for more than forty years. It serves government residential, and commercial clients, chiefly in the U.S.

In March 2017, HughesNet became the first satellite internet system to offer FCC-defined broadband service from coast to coast. Its Gen 5 tier operates at download speeds of 25 MB/S and upload speeds of 3 MB/S. With Gen5, the company offers integrated modems with built in WiFi. All Gen5 plans include 50 gigabytes of Bonus Zone capacity for use between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m.

The FCC has ranked HughesNet first among all major ISPs for consistency in reaching advertised speeds. This ranking is for all ISPs, not just satellite.

About Satellite Country:

Satellite Country is one of America’s largest retailers of TV, internet, home security, and home automation services. It has been in business since 1999. Satellite Country offers a full range of home services, and can find the best deals available where you live.


(For the internet service that’s best for you, talk to us. We can help.)


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Image result for socialist posters

Michael O’Reilly is no shrinking violet. Speaking before the American Legislative Exchange Council last Friday, the FCC Commissioner pulled no punches in describing Title II internet rules. He said the debate over them pits “capitalism vs. socialism”.

The Title II rules enforce ‘net neutrality‘. This means they forbid blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization of internet content. The rules are meant to keep ISPs from favoring their own content over content from competitors. Some internet providers, such as Comcast and AT&T, have their own TV service divisions, and regulators thought they might treat their own video more favorably than video from Hulu, Netflix, and other streaming services. Free Press, a consumer group, says the rules are necessary for free, open communication online. Without ‘net neutrality’, it says, ISPs could block political or social views they don’t like.

The FCC enacted the Title II rules in February 2015. The biggest cable and telecom systems objected fiercely, and lobbied hard for repeal.

With a new President came new majority in the FCC. The new Chairman, Ajit Pai, has said that Title II rules should be repealed, and O’Reilly has sided with Pai. Speaking to ALEC, he said, “All of the propaganda in the world cannot paper over the fact that these new burdens were not in response to actual market place events…” O’Reilly said the rules were enacted only because of “…hypothetical concerns dreamt up by radical activists”. He called ‘net neutrality’ a stalking horse for a larger effort to “vanquish capitalism and economic liberty”.

O’Reilly also criticized the offer of discount municipal broadband. He compared it to Venezuela’s offer of low-cost gasoline. The state required oil companies to sell their product for less than production cost, leading to massive shortages. O’Reilly said that municipal offers of free or cheap broadband would also produce shortages.

O’Reilly said he would support subsidies for the poor. However, he firmly opposes “…allowing government sponsored networks to use their unfair advantages to offer broadband services”. Capitalism, he says, is absolutely necessary.

(For broadband service, talk to us. To find out how to get the most out of it, talk to us. We can help.)

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Image result for i vomited sticker

What We Won’t Do

With one of the most contentious presidential races in history underway, it’s tempting to weigh in on the matter. I offer no endorsements, though. I have a different perspective on political responsibility.

I don’t cover election campaigns here. For this blog, I address public policies– FCC ‘net neutrality’ regulations, for example– only when they’re likely to affect our industry directly. For other publications, I write short articles satirizing politicians once in a while. I try to be even-handed in this, and I’ve mocked Mr. Trump as often as Mrs. Clinton.

The Question is Why, Not How

I will not tell you whom or what to vote for, but will comment on what moves you to vote. One of my pet peeves is the ads that nag every adult to cast a ballot. “You must vote!”, you are told. “If you don’t vote, don’t complain!” There are others of that type, the upshot of which is that you are nearly a criminal if you choose to sit out an election. All of the cool kids will be voting, and you don’t want to be one of clueless dweebs mocked by the cool kids, do you?

To hell with that! The uninformed or unmotivated voter is one of the most dangerous creatures in existence. Anyone who has to be told that an election is underway should take it as a certain sign that he/she lacks the minimum mental engagement for voting responsibly– no matter how brilliant he/she may be otherwise. There is no virtue in merely casting a ballot. Those who don’t know the issues, the backgrounds of the candidates, or much about history or economics, are ripe for manipulation by demagogues and self-dealing scoundrels. Their votes are likely to contribute to the weakening of the social order- maybe even its destruction. To vote because we were shamed into it is exceedingly irresponsible.

Think for yourself. Don’t vote, or form your political philosophy, based on statements by celebrities. Avoid being swayed by ‘social proof’, the consensus of Facebook or Twitter mobs. Don’t fall for candidates merely because they seem hip, attractive, trendy, or ‘cool’. This is how we got saddled with…  eh, never mind. I’m not mentioning any names here.


Inform yourself. Vote only if you understand the candidates and the issues thoroughly. This means knowing more than what candidates say about a prepared list of topics. It means knowing their backgrounds, and knowing a fair amount about history, economics, and literature. Avoid multiculturalist or conspiratorial takes on these subjects. If your sources are Howard Zinn, Paul Krugman, Michael Savage, Noam Chomsky, Alex Jones, or- heaven help us– Amy Schumer or Samantha Bee, then you need better sources.

Nobody should enter a polling place undecided. A vote should never be determined by a coin toss. Anyone who hasn’t made up his/her mind before election day hasn’t weighed the issues properly. Impulsiveness and civic responsibility don’t mix. Activity is productive only when directed by reason, and random activity is usually useless at best, if not downright destructive. When we don’t know what we’re doing, it’s often best to do nothing.

This is especially true in the political arena.

(For the best internet connection, talk to us. We can help.)