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February 10, 2016updated 04 Sep 2016 10:23pm

ViaSat, Boeing launch first ever Terabit Satellite platform for global broadband

News: Two of the satellites will deliver twice the combined capacity of 400 satellites.

By Vinod

Broadband services company ViaSat has launched the ViaSat-3 ultra-high capacity satellite platform to provide high-speed and high-quality internet and video streaming globally.

ViaSat is already working on the first two satellites of the platform, covering the Americas and EMEA. The first satellite, serving the Americas, is scheduled to be launched by late 2019 or early 2020.

Boeing Satellite Systems is developing the satellite bus platforms, while ViaSat is working on the payloads of the two satellites, which are said to deliver more than twice the combined network capacity of the approximate 400 commercial communications satellites in space today.

The third ViaSat 3 class satellite will cover the Asia Pacific region.

Operating in the Ka-band frequencies, each satellite will have 1-Terabit per second (1,000 Gigabits per second) capacity.

ViaSat chairman and CEO Mark Dankberg said: "The innovations in the ViaSat-3 system do what until now has been impossible in the telecommunications industry – combining enormous network capacity with global coverage, and dynamic flexibility to allocate resources according to geographic demand.

"With total network capacity and data delivery costs that are expected to be approximately four times better than ViaSat-2, ViaSat-3 will be the world’s first Terabit per second satellite – offering global connectivity with unrivaled economics and coverage flexibility."

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Users of the broadband service will be able to stream 4K ultra-high definition video as the high capacity satellites will deliver more than 100 Megabit per second (Mbps) residential internet service.

ViaSat looks to target billions of unconnected people in emerging markets by providing them with affordable internet services.

In-flight connectivity and video streaming service for commercial airlines, business jets and high-value government aircraft, and 1Gbps speeds for use in maritime, oceanic and oil and gas platforms, will be made possible by the new class.

The satellites use cloud technology for network processing and operations as portions of the network are moved into the cloud, thus proving to be cost effective.

ViaSat-3 class satellites will be compatible with the 2 class terminals, to extend coverage and improve transmission speeds.

The broadband service provider has signed a contract with Arianespace to launch the ViaSat-2 and the first ViaSat-3 class satellites into the geostationary transfer orbit onboard the Ariane 5 ECA.

The ViaSat-2 satellite system, scheduled to be launched in 2017, is expected to improve internet speeds across North America, Central America, the Caribbean, a portion of northern South America.

One ViaSat-3 class satellite will launch on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy.

Meanwhile, ViaSat is merging its broadband technologies and consumer internet service provider (ISP) business with Eutelsat Communications’ European broadband arm. This will create a joint venture that will expand the latter’s wholesale service as well as launch a new consumer retail unit in Europe.

Under the agreement, ViaSat will own 51% of the new entity and also acquire a 49% interest in Eutelsat’s existing European wholesale business.

Dankberg said: "The joint venture combines an unprecedented collection of expertise in satellite operations and technology, broadband networks, and wholesale and retail distribution throughout Europe that forms the foundation for next-generation internet services.

"We’re excited to be working with Eutelsat to bring a proven model to the European and Mediterranean markets."

The Satellite Services segment of ViaSat achieved 14% year-over-year growth in the third quarter, with consumer subscribers increasing by 2% to 687,000.

However, revenues fell by 34% in the Commercial Networks resulting in an overall net loss of 34%.


Image: The launch of ViaSat-1. Photo: courtesy of ViaSat Inc.

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