Hughes Network Systems yesterday announced eight enterprise-level broadband packages that are designed to be competitive with terrestrial alternatives for providing businesses a complementary service to ensure that their employees maintain high-speed access when a primary access system is unavailable.

Hughes is offering six plans that provide enterprises with data rates between 130 Kb/s and 2 Mb/s at fixed monthly costs that typically range between $40 and $100, said Michael Cook, senior vice president Hughes Network Systems.

With recent FCC rulings greatly limiting competition among high-speed access providers for many small-business accounts, broadband satellite may be the only high-speed alternative some enterprises have to offerings from incumbent phone carriers. Cook said Hughes has provided enterprises capacity-based pricing as part of customized solutions in the past, but the company determined that predictable, flat-rate pricing--such as it offered to residential consumers--was wanted in the business market, as well.

“We’re taking those experiences and combining them, so we can offer a generic grade of service to businesses,” Cook said. “This allows us to gain efficiencies in the way we deal with [business] customers.”

Hughes also unveiled two new plans targeting enterprises that wish to utilize satellite broadband as a backup to its terrestrial-based high-speed network that may be vulnerable to outages. Such a strategy can virtually ensure continuous access to a high-speed network, Cook said.

“If you have a terrestrial network today, [also subscribing to a satellite service] means you’ve got something that is completely path divergent,” he said. “The chances of both the terrestrial and the service going down at the same time are very, very low.”

In addition, utilizing a satellite broadband solution gives enterprises an efficient complementary mechanism to deliver video multicasts that tend to be a significant burden on a typical data network, Cook said.