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Celebrating 25 Years of Satellite Internet

two woman using rural internet

The world looked very different 25 years ago – Blockbuster Video was still king of movie rentals, the Palm Pilot had just been introduced to the world, and the launch of the first generation iPhone was still a decade away. The connectivity landscape was sparse, and the world wide web was still just a novelty, not the necessity it is today. It was also the time when Hughes invented satellite internet to help improve the dial-up experience. Since then, satellite internet has become a staple for millions of homes and businesses in rural locations and has grown to support email, social media, web browsing, videos and more.

Twenty-five years in the making

We’ve come a long way since the mid-1990s, when the only way to access the internet was to use dial-up modems connected over telephone lines. Harnessing our company spirit of continuous innovation, in 1996, Hughes engineers applied satellite technology to transmit large files, drastically reducing internet download times from over an hour down to just 90 seconds.

Soon after, Hughesnet®, the first national, high-speed satellite internet service, was born. Connecting millions of people across the Americas, Hughesnet consistently ranks as the Best Satellite Internet Service Provider by U.S. News & World Report. Beyond the Americas, satellite network operators worldwide use the Hughes JUPITER™ System to connect millions of more people to the internet – from Indonesia to Algeria and India to Argentina.

A lifeline for unserved communities

Satellite internet is a lifeline for millions of people all over the world living beyond the reach of fiber or cable. It is available everywhere, right now, helping people check emails, stay in touch with friends and family, share photos, attend classes, listen to music, explore interests, catch up on all the latest news, access critical health information, run their businesses and so much more. With just a VSAT (very small aperture system) and a clear view of the sky, connection becomes possible – whether for homes, small businesses or communities in places where cable and fiber service is not available. According to ABI Research, by 2026, the global market opportunity for satellite services is expected to grow to 331 million premises – that equates to an estimated 1.3 billion people!

Advancements in speed & effectiveness

When internet first launched in the 1990s, plans started at 400 Kbps, and in-home Wi-Fi was no more than a dream. Even as recently as ten years ago, the average internet download speed was around 5 Mbps, which pales in comparison to today’s broadband speeds of 25 Mbps. And when the Hughes JUPITER™ 3 satellite launches, customers will enjoy plans with higher speeds for an even better internet experience.

Satellite internet is here to stay and advancing every day, thanks to the team of world-class engineers who work diligently to power a connected future for people everywhere. When you consider how far we’ve come in 25 years, the possibilities for the next 25 are endless.