For all the "cut the cord" hype there's been one big problem: where else are you going to get your Internet service? The truth is the cord running into your house usually carries more than just your television signal. Buying video content from iTunes is more affordable, but you're still going to have pay a company with monopoly pricing power in order to get the bandwidth so you can download content.
Depending on how far out of town you live a real alternative to the cable company might be right over your head, according to Bill Menezes of Gartner. Historically reserved for people living in places where there were barely phone lines, new developments in satellite technology are starting to provide competitive speeds.
Menezes says about 20 to 30mbs is what customers are getting from their cable modems. Satellite internet speeds in the past were small fractions of that pace, but the gap is narrowing. "Right now you've got new satellites up in orbit that provide around 15mbs. If you're in a neighborhood or rural area that can't get cable or DSL connections, you can a comparable speed through a satellite provider."
The closer into major metropolitan areas you live the more likely it could be that your Internet service outpaces satellite, but the competition is moving closer towards town.
However, the product with the most potential comes from a Google (GOOG) backed venture called O3b, which is claiming speeds of up to 1Gbps from its medium orbit satellites, comparable to Google's own vaunted fiber network offerings. O3b's product is set to debut in Q4 of this year.
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