Ground Control is a satellite communications company that provides many solutions for customers throughout the world. Ranging from equipment to services, this company provides one of the most robust platforms for businesses and consumers. A non-inclusive listing of their services includes fixed, mobile, portable, maritime, and M2M/SCADA solutions for businesses and professionals. The company was founded in 2002 on California's Central Coast. They were originally a reseller of mobile satellite Internet and services for customers.
One of the big things that Ground Control specializes in is "terrestrial-like' performance. With the solutions offered by Ground Control, customers can run VPNs, VoIP, Citrix, and streaming video. Hands down, you're not going to find these types of functionality with your standard commercial carriers, such as Dish and others.
We felt like Ground Control was the perfect fit for a large government organization, large business, or even the large work-from-home business. The company provides some solutions that work pretty well for customers.
Ground Control offers a comprehensive solution for satellite internet. They have a variety of plans depending on your needs. Ground Control's iDirect plans start with a 15 GB of data per month plan with download speeds between 3 - 5 Mbps and upload speeds between 1 - 2 Mbps. If you go over your monthly allotment of data then you can pay $0.14 per MB and that price scales down if you decide to go with higher plans. This plan will cost you $1,100 - $1439 per month.
The rest of Ground Control's iDirect plans feature the same download and upload speed with the only differences being the data cap, price per additional MBs and monthly price. The iDirect 20GB plan features 20 GB of data for the month. If you need additional data, you will pay $0.12 per MB and the monthly bill will cost you $1,999 - $2,299 depending on whether or not you want the faster upload and download speeds.
Ground Control's three other iDirect plans offer data caps at 30 GB, 40 GB or 50 GB per month. It costs $.10 per MB for additional data on each plan and the price will range between $2,899 - $4,949. Prices will vary depending on what you want your monthly data cap to be as well as if you want a 3 Mbps download speed, 1 Mbps upload speed or 5 Mbps download speed, 2 Mbps upload speed. While the Internet speeds advertised are not the fastest, the robustness and uptime of the service make it a great purchase for business. We really liked the fact that if you go over your bandwidth, your service is not throttled or suspended. You simply pay a small overage fee per megabyte, so you can stay in business. Ground Control has unlimited data plans with varying download and upload speeds available, but pricing is based on speaking to a company representative.
With Ground Control, you can get 1000 minutes of VoIP per month with their standard voice service, all for $49.95 (this plan needs to be based with your satellite service) including up to 10 phones per satellite connection. There are also other services, such as FoIP (fax). You can also get an optional international phone number for no added cost. All plans include voicemail, call activity, call forwarding, speed dialing, and more.
With many commercial providers, we felt that the cancellation policy was pretty outrageous in this industry. With Ground Control, you pay a 15% restocking fee and early cancellation fee if you decide to cancel your plan early.
One of the benefits of Ground Control is that you can take your business with you anywhere. We found that Ground Control offers laptop-based solutions, maritime solutions, and mobile dishes to fit your in-field business needs.
Finally, there is an optional training installation program that lets businesses take control of their own Ground Control solution. For a fee, your business can train a technician to install and service your Ground Control products and network.
We were kind of taken back by the high prices for the services available from Ground Control. We found that the cheapest satellite Internet solution started at $399 per month. With installation costs, you could be looking at the first monthly bill to be close to $1000 if you chose their lowest plan. Also, for these prices, you're locked into a low upload speed, a low download speed, and a low monthly bandwidth. Competing companies in the industry offer data caps three times more than the lowest iDirect plan from Ground Control with faster download and upload speeds and charge $1000 less per month. We want to know why their satellite internet system costs are so much higher than their competitors. We also couldn't find a directly stated installation charge on the website.
Ground Control's price for additional data is steep compared to competing companies. One of Ground Control's competitor's charges only $10 per each additional GB of data whereas Ground Control's plans that include a data limit charges $0.10 - $0.14 per additional MB of data. If you only needed a few MBs of additional data then that would work for you but be careful. If you needed an additional GB of data then you better be ready to pay up. 1000 MBs are in 1 GB so you will be paying anywhere from $100 - $140 for each additional GB of data with Ground Control.
Ground Control simply is not a good fit for the residential consumer. Ground Control is designed for the high-tech, large-enterprise organization that needs a fast, secure satellite connection, both on-site and in the field. While Ground Control has solutions for many different industries, some of these industries may be better off going with a commercial/residential carrier.
While the website does a pretty good job of explaining all the different products, the knowledge base is not good for the entry-level decision maker who might be considering satellite Internet for their business. We would also like to know more about how a business might want to go about picking the satellite plan that is the best fit for them.
They may be fine for other purposes, but as for industrial monitoring, their data usage charges quoted within service plans are very deceptive and downright dishonest. They quote 1KB minimum data burst possible (that would be very acceptable), but we have found it impossible to use any less than about 12KB per message (even though we're transmitting only 0.3KB of data). Customer Service seem unable or unwilling to determine or explain why. Lousy.