ViaSat Announces Plans for Next-Gen Broadband Satellite

ViaSat announced that it has executed a contract with Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems to build ViaSat-2, which will be based on ViaSat's next generation Ka-band satellite technology and architecture, and will include “significant enhancements” to ViaSat SurfBeam networking technology. ViaSat-2 is designed to “multiply the speeds offered to a level commensurate with high-speed fiber-to-the-home networks.”

“It’s clear that superior bandwidth economics in space create competitive advantages on the ground, in the air, and at sea, compared to other satellite and terrestrial alternatives,” said Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO of ViaSat. “ViaSat-2 represents a significant breakthrough in broadband satellite technology--for the very first time combining extremely high bandwidth capacity with very large coverage areas.

Dankberg stated that ViaSat-2 would make possible “superior in-flight connectivity on applications ranging from JetBlue leisure flights to the Caribbean to U.S. government aircraft traveling to Europe or Latin America, to critical national and Homeland Security missions.”

He also noted that the new satellite would offer greatly enhanced capacity and coverage, while also providing greater operational flexibility.

Earlier this month ViaSat announced a record $1.1 billion in revenues for fiscal 2013.

“We ended our fourth quarter and fiscal year 2013 with strong top line growth across all our business segments, including Government Systems despite severe budget pressures,” said Dankberg. “Steady gains in Exede satellite broadband subscribers coupled with 36 percent growth in contract awards pushed our revenues up 30 percent to over the $1 billion mark in fiscal year 2013.”

Reviewing ViaSat's filings with the FCC's International Bureau, it isn't clear ViaSat has secured authority to serve the United States from ViaSat-2 at its proposed nominal orbital location at 70 degrees west longitude. The FCC dismissed ViaSat's December 2012 Letter of Intent, without prejudice to refiling, to provide service across the United States operating ViaSat-2 under authority from the United Kingdom.

Later, when the FCC began accepting applications for Ka-band operations at 69.9 degrees west longitude, ViaSat jumped the gun on filing its application and they were dismissed (See RF Report's Satellite Update May 3, 2013. Checking the IBFS I noticed ViaSat refiled the applications later on March 19. They are still pending as of 05/30/2013.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.