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Q&A

I saw an ad for an Internet account you can get through one of those pizza-size satellite dishes. What the heck is that all about?

The same kind of digital satellite dish used by DSS and DBS TV receivers—like those from RCA and Sony—to receive such services as DirecTV and USSB can also be used to receive high-speed Internet transmissions. Many of these services operate only one-way—that is, they can receive data, but you can't send anything, such as email. Some now offer two-way service, allowing you to send and receive, just as you would over a phone or DSL line. These systems cost more than a typical Internet setup. (You must buy a few hundred dollars of extra equipment, and usually pay a higher monthly rate for your Internet account.) But it may be a good option where poor phone lines make it impossible to get acceptable download speed.

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