The Hughes Network Systems (HNS), a subsidiary of General Motors Corp., is bullish on the RV industry, so it has picked RV campgrounds as a target market for its wireless Internet access service marketed under the DIRECWAY brand.
“Most RV parks are in remote locations where broadband (high-speed Internet access) lines are not available,” said Mahesh Bhave, vice president of new business development at HNS. “It was a natural choice.”
The RV industry’s positive demographics also were a factor, he added.
The owners of laptop computers or PDAs equipped with a wi-fi (wireless fidelity) card and a Hughes satellite dish receiver now are able to surf the Internet from any wi-fi “hot spot” in North America, Bhave said.
Now, the vast majority of RVers rely on telephone dial-up connections to the Internet or use a dedicated modem in the common area of an RV resort, which means they may need to wait for other guests to finish before accessing the Internet.
“Our solution comes from the sky,” Bhave said. “We don’t differentiate between the first mile or the last mile” of cable when making DIRECWAY available.
Hughes plans to partner with Internet access providers (ISPs) to establish hot spots and otherwise make DIRECWAY available at RV parks and campgrounds, Bhave said. In some cases, HNS may decide to be its own ISP, particularly when working with an RV campground company that operates several locations, he added.
“We create an end-to-end total solution,” he said. “We do everything, including registration, customer management and network management.”
PanAmSat, a sister company of HNS, owns an orbiting satellite that has “capacity” for the DIRECWAY service, Bhave said. HNS also will buy capacity from other satellite owners to serve DIRECWAY customers.
Satellite TV service DIRECTV also is a sister company of HNS, Bhave noted.