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Xplornet to boost satellite high-speed capacity

The company billing itself as Canada’s biggest provider of rural broadband plans to buy space on a new high-throughput satellite to boost its service speed and add capacity for more users.

Woodstock, N.B.-based Barrett Xplore announced an agreement “valued in excess of US$100 million” to buy and operate over 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) of capacity on Jupiter, which U.S. satellite broadband firm Hughes Network Systems plans to launch in 2012.

“Jupiter will enable Barrett Xplore to provide significantly enhanced service offerings to our current customers, and offer additional capacity to serve hundreds of thousands of rural Canadian households,” Barrett Xplore CEO John Maduri said in a release Wednesday.

Barrett Xplore, operator of Xplornet Internet Services, said it will be able to offer a range of packages of up to 10 Mbps (megabits per second) for residential service and up to 25 Mbps for business, at pricing “comparable to that in terrestrial broadband markets.”

“By using Jupiter, Barrett Xplore will be able to deliver the same kind of exciting, high-speed satellite services to Canadians that Hughes intends to bring to subscribers across the U.S., including those living in areas unserved or underserved by terrestrial broadband,” Hughes senior vice-president Mike Cook said in the same release.

Hughes, based at Germantown, Md., northwest of Washington, D.C., bills Jupiter as augmentation for its Spaceway 3 satellite system, which Barrett Xplore already uses to serve the rural Canadian market.

Jupiter is designed with over 100 Gbps of capacity, representing a “tenfold increase” over existing satellites, the companies said.

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