Turnkey VSAT-based network operator Nova-Net Communications of Englewood, Colorado, is to build a satellite facility in Dallas, Texas primarily to service US customers with fewer than 100 sites. Up until now, the company claims, VSAT suppliers – VSAT stands for very small aperture terminals – have only gone after customers with over 1,000 sites. When completed in late 1988, the Dallas facility will provide a wide range of data and video satellite services from large volume manufacturers. Nova-Net will integrate the services into a hybrid solution with network management capabilities. The facility will initially include a C-Band master earth station but a Ku-Band station will be built at a later stage. Nova-Net recently signed an agreement to purchase a C-Band master satellite station from Equatorial Communications, which has been supplying Nova-Net with master station services through its Mountain View facility. What has kept VSATs from being used by more companies is that the large satellite equipment manufacturers can only afford to meet the system integration needs of large network users – only about 20% of the market, according to Nova-Net president Gary Mesch. Nova-Net, without the manufacturing overhead costs, can address the other 80%. Nova-Net says it chose Dallas because of its strategic location near the energy industry, which is a major user of Nova-Net’s communication systems for supervisory control and data acquisition, and because the region has already become a major communications centre. According to Mesch, this facility signifies a major step in the growth of Nova-Net, a four-year old private company, partially funded by such companies as American Television and Communications, and C Itoh America. Nova- Net currently has 20 VSAT network customers.
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