If you're stuck in an area that's not served by an existing broadband source, your options for hopping on the world wide web at a rate hastier than 56Kbps are limited. Severely limited. The go-to alternative for the past few years has been HughesNet, a satellite-based "broadband" service that offers users 2Mbps down / 300Kbps up for a staggering $120 per month. It's definitely a last resort, and many satellite gamers have kvetched that triple-digit ping times have all but destroyed their yearning to catch a round of Counter-Strike before hitting the sack. If all goes well, however, this entire situation could be up-ended by 2012. Hughes just landed the financing it needs to launch a $400 million Jupiter satellite into orbit, theoretically giving it over 100 gigabits per second of capacity and enabling it to seriously expand its customer base. Once launched, consumers could be offered download rates as high as 20Mbps, and while that's far from impressive, it's definitely a step-up for those positioned in bandwidth-starved locales. Until then, it looks like you'll still need to Photoshop your speed tests to convince yourself you're really on a high-speed connection.
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Hughes Completes COFACE Financing of Jupiter™ Satellite Launch

GERMANTOWN, Md., Oct. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), the global leader in broadband satellite networks and services, today announced the signing of a $115 million loan agreement with BNP Paribas and Societe Generale to finance the launch of Jupiter, its next generation, high-throughput, Ka-band satellite. The loan is guaranteed by COFACE, the French Export Credit Agency, and Arianespace has been contracted by Hughes to launch Jupiter in the first half of 2012.

Loan draw-downs will occur over the launch vehicle construction period leading up to the launch and will commence shortly. Terms of the loan include a fixed interest rate of 5.13 percent, and a repayment period of 8.5 years starting after launch. Funding under the facility is subject to customary closing conditions which are expected to be met shortly.

Commenting on the signing, Pradman Kaul, Hughes chairman and CEO, said "I am very pleased to have entered into this COFACE-backed facility with attractive terms that include a fixed interest rate and long tenor. I would like to thank all of our colleagues who have made this happen, including COFACE, BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, and Arianespace."

About Hughes Network Systems

Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES) is the global leader in providing broadband satellite networks and services for large enterprises, governments, small businesses, and consumers. HughesNet® encompasses all broadband solutions and managed services from Hughes, bridging the best of satellite and terrestrial technologies. Its broadband satellite products are based on global standards approved by the TIA, ETSI and ITU standards organizations, including IPoS/DVB-S2, RSM-A and GMR-1. To date, Hughes has shipped more than 2.2 million systems to customers in over 100 countries.

Headquartered outside Washington, D.C., in Germantown, Maryland, USA, Hughes maintains sales and support offices worldwide. Hughes is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hughes Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: HUGH). For additional information, please visit www.hughes.com.