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2-Way Satellite Internet Now Available In Canada

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the canada-gets-more-tempting dept.

The Internet 114

ehud42 writes: "According to this article, 2-way satellite service is available in Canada. Canada is pushing to have high speed internet access available to all Canadians by the year 2004. However, it appears it's available already! CEO Leslie Klien of C-Com is hoping the government will spend less on telco's stringing wires across the tundra and instead give it customers so they can buy his services."

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O Canada (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#168048)

Ok, sat service to Canada makes a lot of sense because the land is so huge, and there are a significant number of people not in the big cities. But on the other hand, providing full coverage is far from trivial, GEO simply isn't an option.

Thus, the satellites will have spend quite a lot of time doing nothing in particular, since no customers will be visible. They'll have to charge a handsome fee indeed to make up for all that under-utilisation.

Re:Nice rates (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#168049)

The first guy is right. 40KB is 400kbps. 12KB is 120kbps. Just move the decimal point. 8 bits in a byte plus the start and stop bits...

I think that is a pretty crazy price for a device with such a lousy RTT. Quoting Satellite bandwidth peaks, is a lot like quoting clock rates for CPUs. They tell a only a very small part of the entire story.

Um so? (2)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 13 years ago | (#168050)

It's available in the United States of America [] as well.

- A.P.

Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

Re:You Americans have had it for a while... (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 13 years ago | (#168051)

No we haven't. Well, if you are amoung the group who can use windoze you have it already. If your like me, windoze will not do what you need it to do, even if you were willing to run it. Belive me, I've considered it.

Re:You've got questions??? (2)

BrianH (13460) | more than 13 years ago | (#168054)

FYI, the system can be easily modded to run an ethernet interface for non-MS/non USB capable clients. SB themselves don't promote it, but there are a large number of sites on the Net that explain the mod in great detail.

Shuttle Jam? (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 13 years ago | (#168055)

I can imagine the scene:

Shuttle Pilot: "Houston we a problem, although we are in the right trajectory for landing, no one will move those d@mn satellites out of our way"

I'll wait ... (2)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 13 years ago | (#168056)

Even though its nice to have the service available, I reckon I will be waiting around 5 years just for the prices to come down. These sort of costs are only justifiable by mining or oil companies out in the middle of nowhere, but who still need data links. For them it is definetly cheaper to get a satellite connection than to set up telephone cables to somewhere 400km from anywhere.

Also in 5 years the technology will probably have improved enough for making it interesting for home or small business use.

Re:Canada is so progressive it almost hurts (2)

Pope (17780) | more than 13 years ago | (#168057)

Surely you mean Kim Campbell, back when big Bri retired, right?

Re:Too expensive for most (1)

LKBONG (19998) | more than 13 years ago | (#168058)

Isn't that like 3 dollars in American money? :)

Any stats on your theory? (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#168059)

Yes, for young online gamers, latency is an issue.
I don't see this as something that's 'holding back' the satellite internet industry... landline services like cable & dsl tend to be cheaper and easier to install as well, which is a MUCH larger factor.

For everyone else, it's not a big deal, and given the number of rural locations with no high speed and not the best quality dialup, I'd say this is a fantastic solution.

Why.. (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#168060)

It's *expensive*. VERY expensive. And takes time.

What do you think.. our whole country is TUNDRA?

Re:Why.. (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#168061)

Yes. I grew up in central British Columbia, and have been working the Interent business for about 10 years now.

Another solution for all our wonderful rural communities: Check out (yes, shameless plug for former employer). They don't provide Interent per-se, but provide equipment to roll out wireless 2-way non line-of-sigh ineternet.
I believe a company called Platinum Communications is rolling out (successfully) the equipment in High River, Alberta (fairly rural area south of Calgary, no plans for high-speed access). For more dense population, this may be feasible. Satellite certainly only fits the really remote areas.

Re:Nice rates (3)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#168062)

that's 320Kbps/120Kbps, btw. ANd most people will keep it for more than a year.

This is great. The only thing keeping me from moving out of the city was the unavailability of half decent internet access. Now that this is here.. I can live at the lake.

So you think this is not a good deal? This is for people *outside the city* where you can't get *any* high speed access. It's a *great* deal.

Re:Canada is so progressive it almost hurts (1)

joekool (21359) | more than 13 years ago | (#168063)

Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie, I believe? I know I have this MP3, and you should be giving credit where due! (unless of course youare one of the trolls)

ExpressVu (2)

irix (22687) | more than 13 years ago | (#168065)

As a Canadian who lives where you will never be cable modem or DSL access, I feel the pain.

You can already get 1-way Satellite in Canada via Expressvu (see [] ) - the same place I get my TV signal from. They will likely have the 2-way system sometime soon, since the American equivalent is in trial in the US.

Hopefully the prices will be a bit more reasonable. I don't mind paying more than the $40/mo. that cablemodem and DSL people pay in the city, but $200+ a month for a residential service is just too expensive.

I hope we get this service soon, since satellite down and modem up is too expensive and slow. Expressvu, you listening? :)

Re:Nice rates (1)

Nex (23489) | more than 13 years ago | (#168066)

You might consider joining a 12-step program. Nex

Re:It's a sad day.... (1)

savaget (26702) | more than 13 years ago | (#168067)

I agree....on the other hand I could use a little more karma! :)

Too expensive for most (2)

savaget (26702) | more than 13 years ago | (#168068)


Dish Size Price

0.74m $ 849.95

1.2m $ 2,249.95

1.8m $ 2,749.95

Seats Monthly Seat License Email Account

1 Seat $ 149.95 Included 1

Activation Fee: $ 49.95 Yearly Industry Canada

Licensing fee: $ 70 .pdf

Re:Canada is so progressive it almost hurts (1)

ashitaka (27544) | more than 13 years ago | (#168069)


I have a Prime Minister, not a President.
I speak English and French, NOT American.
and I pronouce it 'about', NOT 'a boot'.

I can proudly sew my country's flag on my backpack.
I believe in peace keeping, NOT policing.
diversity, NOT assimilation,



Thank you.

Re:Ping experts please help (1)

danipell (30186) | more than 13 years ago | (#168070)

The satellite is in geostationary orbit at 22,360 miles above the equator. Depending at what latitude you are there is a 250 to 280 ms ping time per hop. Two hops = 560 ms. Add the latency in the equipment of 50 to 100 ms and the time to get from the Washington hub to your site and back.

The other item to remember is this is a Hughes system and as such is subject to the Fair Access Policy. I had a tour of the company last month and it does work. How well it will work when the space segmeng gets congested is another matter.

options (1)

danipell (30186) | more than 13 years ago | (#168071)

This is certainly one option. For 10 users the price does go up. However there are other options out there. Companies like TRG systems out of Vancouver have solutions that are aimed at community groups, villages, and other clusters that come in very favourably to the options shown by C-Comsat. Companies like Telesat have options that can provide connectivity for towns and groups as well. They are not cheap but when the cost of connecting 50 to 100 homes in a community it is not bad at all and it is very robust. Additionally a second high bandwidth carrier can have the clinic or school do video conferencing and other high bandwidth applications.


Re:But DSL? (1)

topham (32406) | more than 13 years ago | (#168072)

Skycable offers such a service in the Winnipeg, Manitoba area. I know someone who has used it, and he said it worked ok for games like Quake, but he prefered cable. (His brother uses SkyCable).

SkyCable uses a radio link for it's service and offers the same features as cable service does in Urban areas.

Actually, it's cheaper in the long run (2)

jfunk (33224) | more than 13 years ago | (#168073)

Ok, so it's a lot more expensive than DSL/cable.

Big deal. We city folk spend a hell of a lot more on our apartments/houses than rural folk. The farther away you are from the city, the less you have to spend on your property. The difference more than makes up for the expensive Internet access.

Canadians World Leaders in Porn Consumption (3)

tbo (35008) | more than 13 years ago | (#168075)

According to Judy Elder, head of Microsoft Canada's Consumer Division, Canada generates more porn search requests than any other English-speaking country in the world. And that's total searches, not per capita. This is not a troll, nor is it a joke (although it's damn funny).

Maybe that's why we're leaders in the telecom business, and have better internet access options--we have the demand.

Remember the FAP though... (1)

deadfly (39238) | more than 13 years ago | (#168076)

"* C-COM Satellite Systems reserves the right to limit individual user throughput in accordance with the Fair Access Policy (FAP) described in the Terms & Conditions."

So while it might be cool to have 2 way satellite net access, if you actually try to use it to do anything but look at web pages your going to end up paying $150 a month for service that is as slow as a modem.

Should be pretty handy for anyone without a phone line though.

Rural Areas (1)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 13 years ago | (#168077)

People in rural areas don't exactly have access to high-speed networks, so this is where it comes in handy. People in Northen Ontario, Nunavut, etc., will find this service useful; but someone in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, etc. will just subscribe to cable.

Re:In comparison to the States, yes (1)

Betcour (50623) | more than 13 years ago | (#168078)

Don't forget :
- violence : the US are really screwed up with violence (thanks to a nation wide love and fascination for guns and shooting).
- justice is pretty wacky too : frying peoples all year long and awarding 3 Billion dollar (Austin Powers pun not intended) to that smoker guy.

They say you can judge how advanced a civilization is by how well it treats it's prisonners and criminals...

Fuzzy math? (2)

mghiggins (61851) | more than 13 years ago | (#168081)

> The system provides download speeds 16 times faster than a regular phone line

... and...

> Miles himself lives in the countryside and his Internet access at home is the basic, slow dial-up service. He recently downloaded a big file that took more than two hours, tying up his phone line and his patience.
> He downloaded the same size of file using the satellite system in 20 seconds.

So that's 120*60/20 = 360!

Somehow 16X faster became > 360X faster!

This guy's taking math lessons from Gore.

Any statistics on the latency? (2)

bconway (63464) | more than 13 years ago | (#168082)

A 400/128 kbps "line" for a remote area isn't a terrible deal, despite the high price. However, one of the main things holding back satellite internet connections, besides lack of a decent upload solution, is terrible latency. There's no mention of what one can expect in any of the links above, anyone have any ideas or suggestions/solutions?

overkill factor (2)

joq (63625) | more than 13 years ago | (#168083)

The system provides download speeds 16 times faster than a regular phone line and sends information five times faster.

Does the typical home user even need speeds so fast or is everyone just rushing to see who can do what first. Sounds nice to have this service but it seems a bit pricey.

$1,500 after tax for the equipment, plus $150 per month service fee. Businesses pay $2,500 for equipment and $190 a month in service fees.

One of the things I always wondered about is what happens when a company goes under say like PSINet, what happens to the pre purchased bandwidth they didn't use, is there a clearinghouse for it as there is for phone time? Anyone know?

Re:If Canada can... (1)

matman (71405) | more than 13 years ago | (#168084)

Don't worry, we use teargas against the protesters too :) (only when they get violent though, is what we're told)

Re:If Canada can... (1)

matman (71405) | more than 13 years ago | (#168085)

Sure we do... the summit of the americas in montreal (or was it quebec city?) a month or so back had tear gas on political protesters.

Re:Nice rates (1)

Miles (79172) | more than 13 years ago | (#168086)

It's not always about latency (games, real time stuff), sometimes it's just about the bandwidth (downloading movies, music, other large software).

And if you've never had the bandwidth before (as this is designed for), then you'll be glad to have it, even with the latency issues (which you probably had with the phone line).


Re:Canada is so progressive it almost hurts (1)

fishboy (81833) | more than 13 years ago | (#168089)

I must agree with the other respondent, studies have shown that the Canadian health system provides the same level of care as the US HMO model for about 70% of the price. In Canada they just deliver the medicine, having to pay someone profit on their procedure doesn't enter into the equation. HMO's take a huge part of the health care dollar away from the patients. While every Canadian enjoys free health care, 50 000 000 Americans are uninsured in the wealthiest country on earth. If privatisation is such a success, ask the Australians why they are buying back their hospitals from the private corporations they sold them to.

The Canadian doctors who are dissatisfied come to the US because they can bill their HMO higher than the cap that is in place in Canada. There are many Canadian doctors who wouldn't work anywhere else.

I guess you could say that I'm not a fan of privatised medicine.

It's already here in the US (3)

jidar (83795) | more than 13 years ago | (#168091)

I work at a Radioshack and we have had advertisements running since October for a 2 way satellite service. The service being offered is the Microsoft network and it's got a large download which I forget but only 128kb up. Some customers who were existing DirectPC customers were able to get it already, but I understand they had a lot of problems with the rollout and right now you can't get it. It didn't scale well over 2000 customers apparently.If you talk to your local Radioshack guy you might be able to get in on it though, worth a shot. (assuming you would even want this...)

It's the same stateside. (1)

fred911 (83970) | more than 13 years ago | (#168092)

At least with Starband. Installation is mandatory. I don't know if it's per regulation and/or their policy. I guess they don't need some lusers looking at the waveguide while powered up.

You've got questions??? (1)

fred911 (83970) | more than 13 years ago | (#168093)

Radio Shacks service is from Starband. But.. you *must* buy a box from the shack to get service. I think there stuffing people into Compaqs. Real lame.


To buy service direct from Starband and use their transmitter, you only get a USB interface. I guess this is the less of the two evils?

to answer to the subject....

We've got stupid looks.

Re: Nice Rates (2)

Freedom Bug (86180) | more than 13 years ago | (#168094)

"You could probably save money by getting about 4 phone lines and isp accounts and combining the bandwidth."

OK, let's figure this out. We'll use my parent's farm as an example.

First of all, we need more than 4 phone lines: because they are out in the boonies, their maximum connect rate with a 56K modem is 24kbps. So rather than 4 phone lines, we need about 16 to reach 400kbps. 16x$25 / month gives me $400 / month.

Installation costs? SaskTel might actually have 16 pairs running to the farm. Once you start digging up the ground, you might as well run enough pairs. What does it cost to run cable, especially in rocky terrain, for short distances? I'll use $50,000 per mile. That's off the top of my head, but I think it's about right. And we need about a mile to reach the trunk.

And it's the nature of telephone companies: whether or not they have to dig new lines or not, that's about what they'd charge. They only charged about $2,000 to hook us up originally, reasonably priced access for everyone is a condition of their monopoly. They'd jump at the price to get their full sunk cost back.

$150 for high speed internet is cheap. As an example, my parents used to pay $70 a month just to get real-time agriculture commodity price information delivered via satellite to the farm.

$150 a month for high speed internet makes living in the country an option for people like me, who depend on quality internet access to do their work. You save the money elsewhere: you can buy a nice house for $20K. When my brother bought a house, he bought it on a line of credit: it was cheaper to pay the extra interest than to pay the mortgage fees.


obviously you are not a Canadian... (1)

god_of_the_machine (90151) | more than 13 years ago | (#168095)

...but I am.

Oh yeah, I forgot that we were spending the trillions of tax dollars on more important things like appeasing OPEC, supporting/suing tobbaco corporations, and buying tear gas to break up peaceful demonstrations

Well, I remember a peaceful demonstration that took place at UBC in Vancouver about three yeras ago that was protesting an APEC conference, and they used excessive amounts of pepper spray (in some cases). So that takes care of two of your points. =)

As for supporting/suing tobbacco corporations, Canada taxes them at a much higher rate (think higher tax revenues for the government) but is still suing them. It's been in the news around here quite a but I doubt that you get it down south.

Oh I almost forgot. If Canada can do this, why can't the US?

You can get it in the US, go to Radio Shack.


Re:I'm puzzled, and more than a little worried. (1)

ReadbackMonkey (92198) | more than 13 years ago | (#168096)

Well if they were stringing wires acrosss tundra that might be an issue, but the tree-line is way the hell up there, and about 98% of the country lives below the tree-line. Just so you know we aren't covered in snow all year long, in fact a lot of the major cities usually have a climate more akin to New York than Yellowknife.

Sure... for Windows only. (2)

TomatoMan (93630) | more than 13 years ago | (#168097)

From the linked page [] (for the goatse paranoid: [] ):

Operating Systems Windows 98 SE Windows ME Windows 2000

The struggle continues.


Re:Nice rates (4)

Argy (95352) | more than 13 years ago | (#168098)

> 40KB download? 12KB upload? $150 a month? Yeah right... That is rediculous.

Where did you get those bandwidth figures? Here are some from their FAQ:

The speed at which data will flow from the Internet to your PC will average 400kbps. The speed at which data will flow from your PC to the Internet (e.g., when sending an email) will average 128kbps.

While you're using a capital B, and may be meaning kilobytes per second rather than kilobits, they still don't match the FAQ's bandwidth stats, and I think a 10x-20x downstream improvement over a typical dial-up in a remote location is more than a "glorified modem."

On the other hand, their actual pricing sheet says that they may, at their discretion, limit your bandwidth as described in their Terms and Conditions, which they don't seem to make publicly available on their web site.

Re:Sure... for Windows only. (2)

Zalgon 26 McGee (101431) | more than 13 years ago | (#168099)

So quit whining and start demanding :-)

...or start writing your own drivers...

Re:Canada is so progressive it almost hurts (1)

hexx (108181) | more than 13 years ago | (#168100)

but Canadian beer sucks.

Finally! (1)

mini me (132455) | more than 13 years ago | (#168101)

Finally, an Internet connection for my car!

Okay the satellite dish on the vehicle [] is a little much, anyway to use this connection will being able to pretty much hide the electronics? Actually I will answer my own question, it might be possible to hide this [] away.

finally a way to beat our old Nemisis: (3)

ellem (147712) | more than 13 years ago | (#168102)

The Sun!

For a millenia we have lived under its warm glow, and free nutrients! Finally we will be rid of this menace as we block it from the sky with millions of low orbit satellites.


Re:Ping experts please help (2)

shepd (155729) | more than 13 years ago | (#168103)

Here's the math:

Speed of light (generally unbreakable :-) - 186,000 miles/sec.

Distance to geosynchronous orbit - 22,250 miles

22,250 / 186,000 = 120 ms each way

Assuming the server is built into the transmitting satellite (ie: The internet is perfect):

Open port at server = 120 ms (up)
Acknowledgement from server = 120 ms (down)

Now, if we're using UDP, there's no more latency (unless your client supports cleaning up after lost packets, which will slow it down horribly, and you WILL lose packets. This is radio communications)

If this were TCP, now you get this:

Server sends a couple of packets
You acknowledge those packets.
Server waits for your reply before sending more. (+ x ms, depending on your TCP windows)

Anything much more interactive then "Send me /blah/foo.txt" is suicide over satellite.

Let's consider a POP (mail) link.

Open port, wait for acknowledgement (+240 ms)
Send user, wait for reply (+240 ms)
Send pass, wait for reply (+240 ms)
Send list, wait for reply (+240 ms)
Send retr, wait for reply (+240 ms * no. of messages)
Send quit, wait for reply (+240 ms)

Total time spent doing NOTHING for downloading three emails: 2 seconds. And that's being NICE. Servers aren't that responsive, and neither is the internet. Expect checking empty mailboxes to take 5 seconds. Which isn't much, but grates on your nerves like the local pop radio station announcer.

FTP is similar, and so are most interactive protocols. Every letter typed on a telnet/ssh session takes at least 240 ms to show up. If you don't type the next letter until the one you typed just shows up, you effectively have a 50 baud modem. Telex was faster (I think).

I'm not too great with this stuff, so if you are better at it than me, please correct any mistakes.

Cable modem vs. satellite (1)

dpm (156773) | more than 13 years ago | (#168104)

In Ottawa, a cable modem from Rogers@Home costs CAD 39.95/month, or about USD 26.00 including modem rental. This satellite service costs nearly USD 100.00/month, plus a setup charge of close to USD1,000.

Nice try, but I think that we'll have to stick with laying cable, at least for the more populous parts of the country (i.e. the parts that can be reached by phone line). In isolated communities, we can have a single (hopefully faster) dish for the whole town, then run fiber to individual homes. That leaves only a tiny percentage of Canadians who would need private satellite dishes or something similar.

High Speed? (1)

Misch (158807) | more than 13 years ago | (#168105)

Sure, you may have a fat pipe to connect to the net, but your pings are going to be hell! You're talking at least 250 ms for each trip through space... 1 to go up to the sattelite, 1 to come back down. Then, whatever latency there is between the landing station for the sattelite, and the rest of the network, and back. Then, back out to space, and back down. So, you're looking at 1 second (4 * 250 ms) at least to just get a simple ping through.

Sure, that's great if you're just downloading large amounts of small things, but I'd avoid playing any real-time game, 'cause your ping rate is going to be 1000+

It'd probably be good for downloading Linux tarballs or ISO's though :-)

It's a sad day.... (1)

pug23 (167080) | more than 13 years ago | (#168106)

when somebody gets modded to 4 for copying and pasting from the link in the article.

Re:Canada is so progressive it almost hurts (1)

digitaltraveller (167469) | more than 13 years ago | (#168107)

Crap. Canadian health care system is in a state of crisis. Waiting times in some hospitals emergencies rooms is outrageous. Canada should send a team to study the Australian model that is a hybrid public/private system. It works very well.

From a Canadian living in Australia...

Re:Nice rates (1)

iotaborg (167569) | more than 13 years ago | (#168108)

I thought the first guy, who IS RIGHT, is accounting for packet overhead loss. It is dead slow nonetheless, I would rather shotgun a few modems.

On the road (1)

AntiPasto (168263) | more than 13 years ago | (#168109)

What about mobile? ;)


Re:Canada is so progressive it almost hurts (1)

dadragon (177695) | more than 13 years ago | (#168110)

Not quite, The Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark can also talk.

High Latency - So What? (3)

Nos. (179609) | more than 13 years ago | (#168113)

Okay, a lot of people are complaining about the fact that there might be a 1/2 second delay. Well guess what, that's still a hell of a lot better than the rural folks are getting now. Remember, Canada isn't nearly as densely populated as the US. I think its about 1 person per 7 sq miles where the US is about 10 times that (or more).

This isn't going to be the solution for those of us living in big centers where we hae our choice of DSL and cable. This is for rural areaa, some of whom still dial in over radio! Yes, northern Saskatchewan still uses some Radio for phone communications. So, this is a huge step forward. Lets face it, A town of This is "the last mile". Its the most difficult thing in connecting to the Internet. Here's an answer. Give it some time to drop in price. I know when DSL started around here, it was over $100/month, not the $45 it is now.

You Americans have had it for a while... (1)

zakath (180357) | more than 13 years ago | (#168114)

Check out Starband []

Re:You Americans have had it for a while... (1)

zakath (180357) | more than 13 years ago | (#168115)

A few months ago our very own /. ran a story [] on how people are getting around (albeit voiding warranty) the M$ only OS deal Starband apparently struck.

Re:Canada is so progressive it almost hurts (1)

zakath (180357) | more than 13 years ago | (#168116)

I hope you're from UK,Germany or Czech Rep. - otherwise you have no right to talk.

Re:finally a way to beat our old Nemisis: (1)

jaydub99 (188487) | more than 13 years ago | (#168118)

Or as Monty Burns put it: "Since the beginning of time man has yearned to destroy the sun. I will do the next best thing...block it out!"


Re:It's a sad day.... (1)

ckedge (192996) | more than 13 years ago | (#168119)

It's always been like that, although usually there is a bit more from a few different pages, plus some insights.

Now the real sad thing is that his post was the most informative interesting thing I'd seen so far :)

Re:Nice rates (2)

ckedge (192996) | more than 13 years ago | (#168120)

You are aware that it's 150 CANADIAN dollars, right? And you're not being fair, you should ammortize that dish cost over 3-5 years, which (with a $1500 dish) brings it all back down to $175 CDN, or $100 USD per year. Isn't that what ADSL costs in the UK?

And 128 kbps is the normal upload cap on ADSL here in Canada anyways.

But for gamers, the half second ping would be attrocious. You'd have to keep a modem account just to play games. Oh well, guess we have to wait for Satelite service from LEO or medium earth orbit (although we'd need tracking dishes, which would be more expensive, upfront and maintenance...). Good news is that there is lots of room up there in the medium orbits so it could be cheaper that way, and it's closer so the power levels can be lower.

Leading the way... (1)

zoftie (195518) | more than 13 years ago | (#168121)

Hey Canadians are most networked people in the
I seen somewhere though that gates wants to put
hundreds of loworbit satelites for highspeed access
literally everywhere.

Go canda go...

Re:I'm puzzled, and more than a little worried. (1)

tssm0n0 (200200) | more than 13 years ago | (#168122)

I mean, surely this cannot be correct. 2-way satellite communications ?

It is, read about it.

What's wrong with putting wires across the tundra ?

Its expensive and takes a really long time. Canada is a huge country... and hell, it takes the phone companies long enough to run 1 mile of cable.

Still I guess it is typical for Americans to overlook the big picture and focus on the sensational aspects of a story.

Awe, sounds like someone is jelous. Don't worry, if you're nice we might let you pretend you're almost as good as us.

Re:If Canada can... (1)

zentec (204030) | more than 13 years ago | (#168123)

Yeah, they have free medical care. Socialist moron.

Re:But DSL? (1)

zentec (204030) | more than 13 years ago | (#168124)

Most of the prairies, the arctic, and any place that there's basically a working cellular network could be retrofitted for a working DSL network, I imagine. Only if you created a completely new wireless network utilizing existing cell towers.

I can tell you, there's damn little on the praries and in the arctic. That's why the only thing that's available is satellite. Well, except for severe solar storms. Then it all craps out.

Re:Canada is so progressive it almost hurts (1)

cougio (205014) | more than 13 years ago | (#168125)

Small 'mirco' brasseries in Quebec make good beer.

Satellites arent fast, never will be... (1)

PinkyAndThaBrain (206650) | more than 13 years ago | (#168126)

What use is a fast connection anyway if you cant play Quake on it? :) (horrific latency)

They can only pull a couple of hundred people using their full bandwith without service detiriorating... so lets be generous and say they can service a couple of thousand users (if they want to live up to their high bandwith promises). Id be surprised if satellite services are a real alternative for point to point links (microwave land instead of satellite links is an option too) for anything but the most remote and thinly populated regions.

Re:Nice rates (1)

ageitgey (216346) | more than 13 years ago | (#168128)

Oh yeah, almost $400/month real cost and you get a ping time of ~500 milliseconds acoording to the site (that is HALF A SECOND). No thank you.

Nice rates (3)

ageitgey (216346) | more than 13 years ago | (#168129)

40KB download? 12KB upload? $150 a month? Yeah right... That is rediculous.

Service: 150x12=$1800/year
Dish: $850-2750, they recommend the "right one"
Yearly licensing free: $70
Activation: $50

Hrm.. so if you keep the service for a year, that runs you about $230 - $390 per month for a glorified modem speedwise. You could probably save money by getting about 4 phone lines and isp accounts and combining the bandwidth. I guess a government is the only organization that would consider something like this.

Keep in mind.... (2)

Deltan (217782) | more than 13 years ago | (#168130)

.... Those prices are "Canuck Bucks". So like, $1500 CDN = 5 US litterally pennies & dimes for yankees!

Canada is so progressive it almost hurts (3)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | more than 13 years ago | (#168131)

Hammy hamster, socialized medicine, SCTV, they always get it first. Now they have 2 way satellite internet, and a woman president, Jeanne Chretien!

Re:Any statistics on the latency? (1)

deXela (226837) | more than 13 years ago | (#168132)

Some people here seem to think that latency is only relevant for online-games, but the Net is full of interactive applications. Web-mail sucks on a high latency connection, as does irc and other chat programs. Lots of what look like ordinary html pages are generated by interactive database servers, which send and wait for lots of little requests.

"Broadband" is what you need for your tv, where you are a passive consumer of life-style marketing. The Internet, all of it, is much better because it's not just one-way, you can actually interact with others.

speed of light (1)

DankNinja (241851) | more than 13 years ago | (#168133)

The speed of light kind of limits your latency with a geosync satellite to ~300-350 ms. Once you factor in their internal network and gateway latencies, it is more like 375-425 ms. Download speeds were no greater than 256kb and were more like 128Kb. If you think "rain fade" affects your satellite when watching TV, wait until you are on the internet. I've messed around with my friend's system and the connection really does suck. Maybe they will come to their senses and setup cable modem service, or preferably for people close-by, DSL. -DN

Re:Canada (1)

FigBugDeux (257259) | more than 13 years ago | (#168134)

its gone. what was it?

Re:High Latency - So What? (1)

Fuzion (261632) | more than 13 years ago | (#168135)

Well here in Canada we use the metric system, and it's 3 people/sq km. But that doesn't really mean anything because, they're all closely packed into the densely populated areas. The last time I checked, something like 93% of all the people live within 90 km, of the souther border. And in the major cities internet access is pretty cheap. I was one of the first people to have broadband, when it came into my area, and it was $40 CDN, even back in 1996. That's less than $30 US.

Re:overkill factor (1)

anon757 (265661) | more than 13 years ago | (#168136)

Don't forget, that's canadian money theyre talking about. It works out to about $100 American/mo. Pretty darn good if it's high speed, or barely 28.8 if your lucky. In canada there are much fewer urban centres where cable or Dsl is available than the states.

Secretly sponsored by American Counter-Strikers... (2)

iluvpr0n (306594) | more than 13 years ago | (#168137)

This whole plan to get all Canadians using satellite connections is being aided by Americans that play Counter-Strike and want to ensure that Canadians have 300+ pings. Canadians fooled into thinking that their high speed downloads will also mean low latency will be unable to cope with their skyrocketing ping-times. They'll switch to Everquest. Just wait and see.


Ping experts please help (2)

freeweed (309734) | more than 13 years ago | (#168138)

Post after post, I keep seeing the same thing repeated: 250-1000ms ping times. I'm assuming this is due to the sheer distance between the ground and these satellites? Just how far up are they orbiting anyway?

I can get

Security? (2)

JohnnyKnoxville (311956) | more than 13 years ago | (#168139)

My only concern would be how secure is this wireless connection. I recently read an article about people who can intercept info from outside buildings with wireless LAN's. Even if the info I am sending is encrypted, i don't necessariy want people intercepting it. I am not saying the wired internet is the safest, but with this satellite technology be even that safe?

Re:If Canada can... (1)

tb3 (313150) | more than 13 years ago | (#168140)

Yeah, but it's not at political protests, only after Vancouver or Montreal wins the Stanley Cup :)

"What are we going to do tonight, Bill?"

Re:High Latency - So What? (2)

tb3 (313150) | more than 13 years ago | (#168141)

Huh? Your math is squewed. When you average it out, maybe it's 1 person per 7 sq miles, but 80-90% of the population is centered in the urban areas. The population of Southern Ontario alone is 9-10 million. Then the greater Montreal area, the greater Vancouver area, and you've got most of the population.

"What are we going to do tonight, Bill?"

Re:Um so? (1)

MikeyLikesIt! (313421) | more than 13 years ago | (#168142)

Um so - you should try reading the article next time.

This article is about how the government should spend its money: subsidize the purchase of satellite dishes by home and business users, or subsidize the development of land lines to remote communities.

It has its place (2)

screwballicus (313964) | more than 13 years ago | (#168143)

Many people have trashed this option for not being as cost-effective as cable or ADSL. True, for most people, it isn't anywhere near as cost-effective...for MOST people. For many people, particularly in Canada's sparsely populated north, cable and ADSL (and sometimes even dialup) simply aren't options. I spend my summers on a six-acre island on Lake Muskoka, Ontario. We get power and telephone from hideously expensive underwater lines that were laid connecting the island to a nearer, slightly larger island, which, in turn, paid a hideously large amount to lay its own lines, which connect it to the mainland. Not suprisingly, cable and ADSL aren't an option. Dialup isn't either. Dialup requires that I dial the nearest ISP and pay long distance charges to connect to it through what appears to be about 10^n hops back to the central server somewhere in the Orion Nebula. Satellite Internet, therefore, is a fabulous option for me, even at this price. It's not the be-all and end-all of Internet access, but it'll certainly help bridge the "digital divide" whereby people in remote areas were the last, if they ever did, to get dialup, adsl and cable, respectively.

Re:Sure... for Windows only. (1)

ehud42 (314607) | more than 13 years ago | (#168144)

Ummm... I think this is primarily because of the modems being USB and 95 doesn't support USB. The lack of Mac, Linux, BeOS, etc. is a simple reality of the market. As the market demands, drivers will appear. So quit whining and start demanding :-)

Re:Why.. (1)

ehud42 (314607) | more than 13 years ago | (#168145)

A small hyperbole I'll admit. However, I (long with apparently 80-90%) of the country live within 200 miles of the US. I also live in a town of about 500 people exactly half way between (30 minutes each way) 2 fairly major cities (Winnipeg being one of them). The cable companies and the telco have basically told me and a lot of others that there are no plans for high speed access in the near future (read - until forced to by the government). The only other option is SkyCable [] , however they are still months from offering residential service in my area (I could pay close to C-Com's rates and get a business connection - not!)

Re:High speed high speed internet (1)

ehud42 (314607) | more than 13 years ago | (#168146)

Actually, while this is a lame troll - it does raise an interesting point that is addressed on the website.

If the 'net is available via 2 way satellite why not mount a dish to the roof of the RV and surf while at the lake, etc?

The answer for now is - no. For all our conviences, we have to pay in terms of government control. A certified technician is required to come and permanently set up the transmitter, so the RV is out. However, if you have the extra cash, you could set up the cottage.

Question: How sticky are the Americans about this? Am I allowed to set up my own transmitter in the states - or does a certified technician have to do it?

Re:Any statistics on the latency? (2)

ehud42 (314607) | more than 13 years ago | (#168147)

On the sight they address latency issue and acknowledge it will be a hindrence to game players. They claim a latency of 0.5 Seconds.

Remember, for a lot of rural Canadians (2nd largest country in the world) this is the only option other then dial up modems (which for us rural hicks never never approaches 28.8, much less 56 anything).

But DSL? (1)

Aerog (324274) | more than 13 years ago | (#168148)

Having had to give up a perfectly good @home cable account to move back out to the boonies after school was done for the semester, I personally can't wait until there's something around to get high-speed out to other unfortunate souls trying to get by on dialup. (when you're used to cable).

I wonder, however, if it wouldn't be more in the best interest of the government to look into the line-of-sight DSL that was discussed a few months back (can't remember the post, but I'm sure it can be found). A vast majority of the un-high-speed-accessible space in Canada is (and this is not completely true) flat as a breadboard.

Most of the prairies, the arctic, and any place that there's basically a working cellular network could be retrofitted for a working DSL network, I imagine. With some cash, I'm sure the range on the technology could be pumped up a bit, making satellite just about useless in comparison.

But that could be because I'm just bitter at losing a good connection in exchange for a crap connection

Re:Nice rates (1)

srvivn21 (410280) | more than 13 years ago | (#168149)

You people have NO idea what life in the sticks (the boonies, the bush, call it what you will) is like. The phone lines are crap (very old, very dirty (noise wise)), calling your ISP is long distance, or a pay-by-the-minute 800 number (or a cheaper 700 number, that might not be compressed for voice if you are lucky). Again if you are lucky you might see 28K connections, but you get used to seeing a connect speed of 9600.

Sure you can (from your comfortably air-conditioned apartment with your choice of DSL or cable) scoff at satelitte base internet access, but if it's that or AOL's 800 service over crap phone lines... You have no idea how good you've got it.

&ltdisclaimer&gt I live in Anchorage, AK (250,000 people) and I have a 512/256 cable modem, but I have fairly frequent contact with people in the rest of the state, who are not so lucky. Yet [] .&lt/disclaimer&gt

Re:Secretly sponsored by American Counter-Strikers (2)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 13 years ago | (#168150)

This latency thing is the real killer for satellite. It makes playing most games over the 'net almost impossible, and other applications that require back and forth communications will be slow likewise.

I'd like to see somebody implement one of those flying radio stations with some serious bandwidth. That should provide pretty good performance, and would probably end up being cheaper, as you don't need a booster rocket to get your equipment up, and don't have to design the equipment to withstand radiation that hasn't been tempered by our atmosphere.


What the f*** is wrong with you!!! (1)

Newtonian_p (412461) | more than 13 years ago | (#168151)

but Canadian beer sucks.

Canadian beer rules, and it's usually stronger than American beer. I prefer beers from Unibroue which are better than most cheap ass commercial brands and they have about 9% of alcohol.

Oh yeah! And just to stick with the subject: Two way satellite sucks unless you live in the north pole. Cable rules!

Looks like another Consumer product (1)

certsoft (442059) | more than 13 years ago | (#168152)

like Starband. I didn't see anything about static IP addresses or a real network interface (ethernet). Those of us who need to run servers in the sticks need a professional service. The only service I'm aware of right now that fits the bill is Tachyon. But unless they have changed rates recently it is about $4000 for equipment and $300 per month for 300kbits download and 64kbits upload. Once I got them to fix a bug in their upload software it has been working pretty well. Fortunately a client is footing the bill :)

Here is the secret (1)

HermanBupkis (442793) | more than 13 years ago | (#168153)

Here is what you can do to really make money on this thing: Since internet traffic usage is dynamic and not static anyway, why not set up a central station that has a bunch of these satellite do-hickeys on it (or a high bandwidth satellite) all switched together and then make it a DSLAM and provide DSL to your small towns.

Since most users want to download and not upload it would be fine. Some users however really need to upload ... (i.e. 128k or 256k is not going to cut it.) for these people the amalgamated bandwidth could serve the purpose.

Then you can be like cable-modem companies and add more subscribers than you actually have satelites for -- because only a percentage of the people will be on the network at any one time.

You can charge the people lots of money and make millions -- because you will be the lone provider of broadband.

This would work great for small towns and communities, but for those people who live 3 miles out in the middle of nowhere -- gotta get your own dish. Maybe you could use wireless to them?

Re:Why.. (1)

cuyler (444961) | more than 13 years ago | (#168154)

No, but a good part of it is and even then high speed access ia not available everywhere.

I live in Ottawa, for myself the @home service is great. I also had the choice of Sympatico DSL. If I was to move anything more then 20 kilometres south of where I currently live I would not be able to get any highspeed access and my only option for such would have to be an expensive solution like the one this article is about.


Are you sure you want this? (1)

donour (445617) | more than 13 years ago | (#168155)

Even with a considerable bandwidth increase, off-planet service probably won't please most people. The throughput might be fine, but the connection time would suffer from having to go out to the satellite and back. Even with optimal routing, ping times would be approaching a full second. This may not sound like problem at first, but just imagine a one second wait on every connection. With interactivce applications (ie shells), it makes that bandwidth seem useless. ,donr

High Speed, high ping. (1)

gooberguy (453295) | more than 13 years ago | (#168156)

Although your ping would suck compared to DSL or cable, it would be better than a 56k modem. (I frequently get 2000+ pings on some TFC servers) I bet people would love to run small web servers using the satillite instead of a modem where you get dissed once every 12-24 hours. Also, the speeds are significantly faster. If you have the money, you can get one of these even if you live in the northern territories.

I find it funny that this technology will wire Canada before the US and even some Euorpean nations.

D/\ Gooberguy

first of all it is called VSAT (1)

sigxcpu (456479) | more than 13 years ago | (#168157)

a two way dvb sat link is called Vsat and there are several firms (not ISP's) in the us and europ that offer shuch service (STM for one gilat another). there are several solutions for the latency problem thay all involve using a none TCP tunel. (flash networks hase one harmonic data has one and i expect there are others)

Re:I'm puzzled, and more than a little worried. (1)

Papa Don't Preach (457519) | more than 13 years ago | (#168158)

Vielleicht sprichst du Deutsch gerne, aber doch nicht guter Deutsch. ps- ich bin "Amerikaner"

Re:Secretly sponsored by American Counter-Strikers (1)

nrd907s (458195) | more than 13 years ago | (#168160)

300+ pings? I've used a 2 way satellite connection. It sucks. Try 1500+ pings. Once they get going they're great, but getting started you have about 1.5 seconds to wait. They're as bad for gaming as cable modems that use a phone line for uploading.

Re:But DSL? (1)

umchan95 (458469) | more than 13 years ago | (#168161)

As someone who has worked in Canada's northernmost communities of Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord, Nunavut, I can tell you that line of sight DSL woould be impossible because the high arctic is NOT flat.. there are many hills and mountains that would black the signal.. as well, there are no existing cell towers up there (prolly for the same reason as above), so satellite would be only option.. I know that the two communities mentioned above have one way satellite internet, availible mainly in the schools and hotels. Many communities have existing dial-up connections, but they have very slow connections (14.4). Check my webpage if you want to see what some arctic communities actually look like...
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