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Microsoft partner offers broadband satellite access in Europe

Rollout promised by year end

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The company Microsoft teamed up with in order to deliver broadband satellite Internet access in the US by the end of this year has announced plans for a similar system in Europe, in the same timeframe. The 'M' word hasn't been mentioned in the European context yet, but it would seem logical for the deal to be extended, particularly as Microsoft doesn't like its partners playing fast and loose with rivals.

Isaeli company Gilat Satellite Networks this week said it would be putting around $400 million into the European launch, and was talking to major telecommunications companies to distribute 'last mile' services. This suggests that Gilat at least initially plans to deliver a less ambitious service in Europe, as the US version of the service, being rolled out in conjunction with MSN, is promised to be two-way, eliminating the need for a phone line.

Satellite broadband services at the moment usually require a landline as a return pipe, and if you don't need a return pipe, you don't need deals with major telcos, right?

Gilat however does have legal troubles. Earlier this month Hughes Network Systems, which runs the DirecTV/DirecPC broadband satellite system, and just happens to be partnered with deadly MSN rival AOL, hit the company with a patent infringement suit. ®

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