Xplornet Communications successfully launched EchoStar XVII, a Hughes 4G broadband satellite, from French Guiana.

Xplornet said the launch occurred at 5:36 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday July 5th, 2012 into a geosynchronous orbit 35,888 kilometers above sea-level. That, basically, is  just high enough to get a clear view of the vast Canadian territory it will supplying high-speed broadband access to.

John Maduri, Xplornet's Chief Executive Officer said from the launch site: "This launch marks an historic transformation for rural Canada. Where before there was an urban/rural digital divide, that is now being overcome by this remarkable 4G technology.  Just as Canadians rely on satellites for coast to coast telephone connectivity, now they can look to the skies in terms of their digital connectivity. We are plugging rural Canada in to the global digital economy."

Xplornet purchased 100 percent of the Canadian capacity on the satellite entirely for rural broadband, which will expand its 4G footprint considerably in British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

Similar to the ViaSat-1 satellite launched in October 2011, EchoStar XVII will deliver Internet speed of up to 25 Mbps, but customers will have to wait until the fourth quarter of this year.

Maduri said Xplornet hopes to close Canada's urban/rural digital-divide for over 2 million of the 2.4 million Canadian households located in regions where wired broadband is unavailable.

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