Satellite-based broadband Internet access has yet to make much of a splash, attracting fewer than 2 percent of US broadband users.

But despite a slow start, a sister company of the DirecTV satellite-television operation is this week cranking up a big marketing push for an enhanced version of its “DirecWay” broadband operation.

With recent technological upgrades — and more enhancements planned by September — Hughes Network Systems Inc. hopes to persuade big US companies and institutions that satellite can be a viable, though premium-priced, alternative to cable modems and telephone digital subscriber lines for telecommuting employees who need secure access to office networks.

The latest improvements, Hughes executives say, offset or eliminate the quarter- to half-second delays for telecommuters using a “virtual private network” connection. It’s caused by the fact that data packets must travel to and from a satellite orbiting 24,000 miles above Earth.

“We’ve come up with a software patch that ensures that it’s a broadband-quality experience,” said Emil Regard, vice president of marketing. “Once you get it in your house, it’s just like cable or DSL.”

More here.