Many project managers wrangling with telephone or cable companies for high-speed Internet access on a jobsite have thought wistfully of pulling connections from satellites, but getting vendors interested in offering that service has been tough.

Now, Alpharetta, Ga.-based Constructware, an application services provider of Internet-based project management and collaboration tools, has cut a deal with ViaSat. The digital satellite communications company based in Carlsbad, Calif., has named Constructware to be ViaSat's sole distributor and sales agent for construction.

(Composite by Tom Sawyer, Guy Lawrence for ENR & ViaSat Inc.)

The service, available immediately as Constructware ET, involves installation of a 1.2-m dish and a small processor at the worksite, which links a local PC network to the Internet. An up-time of 99.5% is guaranteed, the company says. Scott Unger, Constructware president and CEO, says minimum bandwidth can be purchased in a dozen ranges, from 128 kilobytes per second download and upload, to 2 megabytes per sec. down and 500 kilobytes per sec. up. By comparison, a full T1 land connection has speeds in both directions of 1.5 megabits per sec., Unger says.

At a low of about $650 a month for a two-year contract, Unger admits the system will be expensive compared to traditional lines. But when quick broadband access is needed—the company promises installations within 15 business days—or is otherwise unavailable, the satellite link will be a good option, Unger says.

Use of the system is not tied to Constructware's ASP products. Price is scaled to the number of units, the length of contract and the bandwidth purchased.