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November 6, 2017

ViaSat enters €68m partnership with European Space Agency

100+ Mbps broadband speeds to any home could become a reality thanks to 'Project AIDAN'.

By Ellie Burns

A deal has been struck between ViaSat and the European Space Agency, with the €68m Public Private Partnership set to develop key components of the ViaSat-3 satellite communications system.

In the long-run, ViaSat-3 satellites are expected to give consumers choice in their Internet Service Provider by enabling 100+ Mbps broadband speeds to any home.

To achieve these goals, the ultra-high capacity satellite platform is comprised of three ViaSat-3 class satellites with state-of-the-art ground network infrastructure. Each ViaSat-3 satellite offers over 1-Tbps of network capacity – equal to the total capacity of all commercial satellites in space today.

Dubbed ‘Project AIDAN’, an initial €31.2m has kick-started the program, which will focus on two key innovative components of the ViaSat-3 satellite ground segment. The first of these segments is fixed and mobile user terminals, which include the development of a fully-electronic phased array for residential broadband, in-flight Wi-Fi and connected car applications.

The second focus will be on ground segment equipment and gateways for the ViaSat-3 network, which include the Satellite Access Node (SAN) subsystems for a cloud-based ground network infrastructure.

“The PPP with ViaSat will bring ESA and industry together to quickly develop broadband products that will serve the needs of millions of consumers across Europe who are currently without adequate internet service,” said Magali Vaissiere, European Space Agency Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications

“We believe this is a significant industrial opportunity that will keep Europe at the forefront of satellite and broadband technology development, giving Europe a leading position on the deployment of a next-generation broadband system with advanced ground networks and consumer equipment.”

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Project AIDAN is co-funded by ESA with the support of three of its Member States (Switzerland, the Netherlands and Romania), ViaSat and others within European industry. It is expected that products under the partnership will be available in 2019, with the first two ViaSat-3 class satellites focusing on the Americas and EMEA, with a third satellite system planned for the Asia Pacific region.

ViaSat Antenna Systems S.A. Managing Director, Stefano Vaccaro said, “Building ViaSat-3 ground segment and consumer terminal innovation in Europe is a testament to ViaSat’s commitment to expand its business, presence and technology skillsets across the European region. With the support from ESA and its Member States, we are investing with industry in research and development programs that will focus on forward-looking broadband technologies and applications, enabling consumers and enterprises to optimize their communications infrastructure – whether on the ground, in the air or at sea.”

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