July 2 2014  |  Inflight Entertainment

ViaSat and Eutelsat to link Ka-band satellite network

By Rick Lundstrom

ViaSat Inc. and Eutelsat  yesterday announced an agreement that will enable service access and roaming on each other’s high-capacity satellite networks the KA-SAT for Eutelsat and ViaSat-1 for ViaSat.  

Both Ka-band networks share the same high-capacity satellite ecosystem, enabled by the ViaSat Broadband System, along with other ground infrastructure owned and operated by Eutelsat and ViaSat. The resulting high-capacity service area will span North America, Europe and the Mediterranean Basin.

Users will now be able to operate an array of fixed and mobile services including in-flight connectivity, maritime, emergency relief, oil and gas operations, and government applications anywhere within the combined coverage areas, which represents well over half of all Ka-band capacity on orbit worldwide. 

The agreement also includes provisions for future satellites and follow-on technologies as they complement current Eutelsat and ViaSat high throughput satellites. That future includes ViaSat-2, scheduled for launch in 2016, which is designed to cover a broader footprint in North America, Central America, the Gulf of Mexico, the Carribean, and to bridge the North Atlantic to form a blanket of high-capacity coverage across the region.

“This formalizes another step towards covering the high traffic areas of the world with the fastest, most affordable mobile broadband satellite connectivity,” said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat chairman and CEO in yesterday’s announcement. “Extending our long-standing relationship with Eutelsat enables us to provide the fastest in-flight Wi-Fi available on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat chairman and CEO, added, “Working with ViaSat, we can extend to North America the high quality of service we already provide clients in Europe through KA-SAT, and bridge the two satellite systems with the addition of ViaSat-2. We believe this feature will be a real plus for companies providing mobile services and who need to move around user equipment from region to region.”

Eutelsat KA-SAT, the first High Throughput Satellite (HTS) in the European region, supplies more than 90 gigabytes per second of network capacity. Eutelsat provides network services in conjunction with a number of partners under brands including the Tooway™ consumer broadband service and the NewsSpotter video contribution service. The ViaSat network covers the U.S. and Canada with more than 145 gigabytes per second of capacity, providing a service network for both consumers and enterprises, including Exede® and Xplornet brand services.

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