BASF Agricultural Products North America, a leading manufacturer of crop protection chemicals, announces it has selected Spacenet Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd., to provide high-speed, satellite-based Internet service and broadband networking solutions serving up to 3,000 agricultural distributor and retail customers nationwide.

The new service, to be called Harvest Partners Network‰, is based on Gilat’s 360E VSAT platform. The service will bring high-speed Internet access to rural-based retailers, which until now have had limited access to broadband connectivity. Harvest Partners Network will be available to retailers in the second quarter of this year.

Terry Hanson, Director of e-Initiatives at BASF, says, "Spacenet is focused on the business solutions market. Its broadband networking solutions have been proven over several years in large retail organizations outside of agriculture. Because our retail customers are located in rural areas, Spacenet’s technology is a perfect fit. Cable and DSL are generally not available outside of metro-areas, and fixed-wireless services have distance and line-of-sight limitations."

"The lack of broadband connectivity in rural America has limited ag retailers’ abilities to adopt eBusiness technologies," Hanson adds. "Harvest Partners Network will give our retail customers Internet and data transfer speeds up to 20 times faster than dial-up connections. This will offer them the opportunity to better develop eBusiness opportunities and gain new efficiencies."