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ViaSat announces 1Tbps satellite to rival Facebook and Google

The company announced its ambition to create the world’s first “global broadband communications platform” earlier this week. It has already begun work on the first two satellites to serve the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The third satellite will be launched later to supply the Asia Pacific region with Internet from the skies.
ViaSat is responsible for providing the satellite payloads and Boeing for the bus platforms and communications equipment. The two companies will put their work together in 2019 to build the first two ViaSat-3 ultra-high capacity Internet satellites.
The first two satellites will deliver “more than twice” the capacity of all the approximately 400 communications satellites currently in orbit today. With total bandwidth in excess of 1Tbps, ViaSat will be providing residential areas with 100Mbps connections that will make light work of streaming 4K video or linking smart “things.”
ViaSat will reserve a large portion of the available bandwidth for specialist applications. It sees the satellites as a useful tool for oil and gas platforms, boats and ships as they will be able to track with the vessel and maintain a connection. ViaSat will offer 1Gbps speeds to these customers, helping them develop their business by staying online.
“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,” said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat chairman and CEO.
“While there are multiple companies and consortia with ambitions to connect the world with telecom, satellite and space technologies, the key technologies underlying ViaSat-3 are in hand today, enabling us to move forward in building the first broadband platform to bring high-speed internet connectivity, including video streaming, to all.”
Dankberg’s point is an important one. ViaSat will be rivalling technology companies like Google and Facebook intent on beaming Internet from the skies using drones and balloons. These firms are dedicating large amounts of resources to making these ideas reality but for now don’t have the necessary hardware to roll the projects out on a large-scale.
ViaSat has access to the things it needs, including the necessary satellite expertise to make the system work. While Google experiments with drones at a runway in New Mexico, ViaSat just needs to scale up its existing communications satellites to reach terabit speeds.
The technology companies may be creating unique and innovative solutions but an upgraded communications satellite is perhaps the most sensible concept put forward so far. ViaSat says it already has most of the required infrastructure available and will be basing the satellites on its existing 140 gigabit version. This currently supplies Internet connections to over 687,000 people in the U.S, providing the firm with evidence that its concept could work.

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