True high speed internet alternative now available to islanders
Islanders now have an alternative to their slow or stuttering internet service. A new high speed service, called Exede, is now available. Verizon and DirecTV have been the only connections to internet and cable service on the island and Verizon’s coverage has been especially frustrating for island residents.
Mark Gagnon, owner of South County Sound and Video in Wakefield since 1999, is the Exede agent on Block Island.
“I know about Block Island and knew at some point that new service would be feasible and acceptable to the island,” said Gagnon. “I knew we could sell it at the price and speed where we could be in everyone’s home.”
Exede is owned by ViaSat, an aerospace communications and technology company that has commercial, consumer and government clients. ViaSat has launched three satellites, of which the most recent one, ViaSat 1, was called “the game changer of the industry” by ViaSat’s Vice President of Sales Lisa Scalpone.
ViaSat 1 (which was launched from Kazahkstan) has 140 gigabytes of capacity, which was enough to get it mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records for satellite data capacity. The satellite sits in a geostationary position 22,000 miles above San Diego, which means that when the satellite hits its precise elevation “it moves exactly in rotation with the earth.” ViaSat 1 will operate for about 15 years and is about the size of a small room.
Gagnon said that improved internet service is a boon to not only communications on the island, but also to its economy. Lack of internet service is sometimes cited by real estate agents as a mitigating factor when clients ask about renting homes during the summer.
“This is pretty cool stuff,” said Gagnon.
There is a $49 set-up fee and a monthly equipment rental fee of $9.99. Visit www.exede.com to learn more about Exede’s high speed internet packages.