Hughes launches managed service for businesses

Hughes Network Systems LLC, a provider of broadband satellite services, launched on Monday the first offering for the North American large-business and government markets under a new service brand.

HughesNet Managed Network Services will provide broadband networks to large businesses and government, Hughes officials said. Hughes, which now manages more than 110,000 large-business network sites in North America, will offer several service options to enterprise and government customers.

HughesNet is the new brand for Hughes broadband-related products and services following DirecTV Inc.'s sale of its stake in Hughes, completed in January. DirecTV retained the Direcway brand formerly used by Hughes for its broadband products when it sold its stake to co-owner SkyTerra Communications, which then spun off Hughes into a separate company.

While Direcway was linked to satellite broadband service, "we are going far beyond broadband by satellite in terms of the new services we provide," said Mike Cook, Hughes' senior vice president for sales and marketing in North America.

The HughesNet High Availability Network will be the new enterprise and government managed service offering, combining satellite and land-based broadband services to give customers a single, integrated managed network, Hughes said. The company will provide service level agreements promising availability 99.99 percent of the time, Hughes said.

The cost of the high-availability network service will start at about US$400 a month per site, Cook said. As a long-term satellite broadband provider, Hughes is well placed to offer a combined satellite/land-line service, he said.

Hughes, based in Germantown, Maryland, also offers broadband networks optimized for price or performance, and satellite broadband as a backup for other broadband service, the company said.

In addition, Hughes announced it has expanded its broadband service to residential and small-business customers under the HughesNet brand. Hughes, which has about 275,000 residential and small-business customers in North America, has launched a new e-mail system, personalized start pages and more accessible customer support services, the company said. Customer support is now available through one click on the HughesNet start page.

The company plans to offer domain registration, Web hosting and blogging services in the future, it said.

HughesNet broadband services for residential and small-business customers starts at $60 a month. The company focuses its broadband services on rural and suburban areas not served by other carriers.

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