ViaSat has been bolstering its satellite internet services and is now offering a 12 Mbps / 3 Mbps residential home service called Exede that the company promises offers "feels like fiber" performance. Those are certainly tall claims for a satellite service -- the company's old Wild Blue internet clocks in at a measly 1.5 Mbps. We got to test out the service today at CES, and we left fairly impressed. If you look at the numbers this doesn't stand up to fiber or cable -- we were getting around 8.5 Mbps down and 2.5 Mbps up, with pings around 700 ms -- but we found web pages and HD YouTube videos loaded quickly. Still, you're not going to be able to play any first person shooters thanks to that high latency.
ViaSat says that its improved speeds come from its ViaSat-1 satellite with 140 Gbps throughput and a new web acceleration technology it's calling "accelenet." Like all satellite internet services, Exede is plagued by high latency (thanks to the distance that data travels to and from the satellite), but ViaSat says it has reduced the number of data requests when you load a webpage and applied some compression as well to make any deficiencies in the connection less noticeable.
In addition to its home internet service, the company plans to offer VoIP and in-flight internet. The latter will be available on JetBlue flights later this year, and Continental may use the service in the future as well. ViaSat's Exede service will be released on January 16th in a variety of plans, and Dish will be selling the same internet service in its own bundles as well.