Just as it’s done in thousands of Mexican towns, Viasat’s Urban Wi-Fi service will soon give people in cities an affordable, high-speed option to access the internet. Viasat aims to begin offering the service by the new year.
- Viasat Urban Wi-Fi is a version of the Community Wi-Fi that’s connected many rural Mexicans to the internet for the first time.
- Service will begin with Mexico City and is expected to be available nationwide by the end of 2019.
- Future cities to be served include Cabo San Lucas, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, Puebla, Tijuana and Veracruz.
- Speeds and prices are expected to rival those of terrestrial internet providers now in those cities.
Community Wi-Fi was first introduced to rural Mexico in April 2016. Today, a Viasat Wi-Fi hotspot can be found in thousands of sites – within walking distance of over one million people.
And soon the service is expanding into other Latin American countries.
Addressing another digital divide
The Viasat urban option is bridging a lesser-known digital divide: one that exists in cities.
- Despite some urban areas being served by traditional ISPs and mobile providers, many of Mexico’s most impoverished urban areas lack the required infrastructure.
- Even in the served city center, gaps in service by ISPs and mobile providers make internet connections spotty throughout the city. And where service does exist, it can be slow and expensive.
- The cities Viasat Urban Wi-Fi is targeting currently have no fixed broadband internet — or very low-speed services available.
Fast speeds, low price
The service will be sold in affordable, bite-sized increments, primarily by shop owners. Viasat is now lining up those proprietors, and will launch the service with help from telecommunications specialist Prosperist. The equipment needed to implement satellite internet Wi-Fi is minimal and easy to install, and can be ready to use in a matter of hours.
Typically, people purchase time or data and use their own device to access the service and sit or stand outside the shop while they video chat, check email, download files and do whatever else they’d like to online.
- Viasat Urban Wi-Fi will offer high speeds — up to 100 Mbps in some areas — to Mexico’s city dwellers, much faster than DSL or most other internet and mobile service offerings.
- It also supplements existing cellular networks, ideal as a way to connect during natural disasters or national security relief. During such times of crisis, satellite internet ensures the communications backbone of a community – including government and healthcare workers – stays connected.
The introduction of Viasat Urban Wi-Fi service in Mexico City clearly demonstrates how satellite internet can deliver advanced connectivity anywhere in Mexico, with a quality broadband connection that competes head-on with terrestrial alternatives.
Viasat Urban Wi-Fi is made possible by the ViaSat-2 satellite network, which went into service earlier in 2018. The system links to Viasat’s hotspot platform to transmit high-speed, high-quality broadband internet.
Because it requires minimal local infrastructure investment, it’s a quick and logical way to bring cost-effective internet service to urban areas where connectivity gaps exist between demand, affordability and availability.