|Headquarters||Germantown, Maryland, U.S.|
(Chairman, President and CEO)
|Revenue||US$ 1.043 billion (2010)|
|US$ 85.62 million (2010)|
|US$ 22.79 million (2010)|
|Total assets||US$ 1.363 billion (2010)|
|Total equity||US$ 340.0 million (2010)|
Number of employees
|2,254 (December 2010)|
|Subsidiaries||Hughes Network Systems←|
Hughes Communications is a provider of satellite-based communications services. The company operates its satellite business through its wholly owned subsidiary, Hughes Network Systems LLC.
Hughes employs 1,900 people worldwide, including 1,200 in Maryland. Other major locations are in India, Nevada and Germany, according to a regulatory filing.
In 1971, the company Hughes Network Systems was founded as Digital Communication Corp of Rockville, Maryland by eight investors most of whom were alumni of Comsat Laboratories. The group was led by John Puente. The first employee was Gene Gabbard. The first contract was a consulting contract for Telesat on a TDMA transmission system via satellite. DCC later went on to build the first commercial TDMA system for Telesat Canada.
DCC was privately held until the late 1970s when it was acquired by Microwave Associates. The combined company name was changed to be M/A-Com. DCC went through a number of name changes and later became M/A-Com Telecommunication Inc. It entered the VSAT market in 1985 supplying VSATs to Schlumberger and a number of other enterprise customers such as WalMart, Holiday Inn, Chrysler, and General Motors.
By 1996 the Hughes Network Systems division had $1.1 billion in revenue and 2,200 employees. In January 2004, Murdoch's group, News Corp., bought a controlling interest in Hughes Electronics for $6.5 billion, primarily for Hughes's DirecTV satellite television unit.
In 1996, DirecTV Group Inc., the satellite television company owned by Rupert Murdoch, sold the remaining stake in Germantown, Maryland-based Hughes Network Systems Inc. to the holding company of a New York private equity firm for $100 million in cash. Once the deal was complete, Hughes Network Systems became a wholly owned subsidiary of SkyTerra Communications Inc. SkyTerra created the subsidiary Hughes Communications to hold the company Hughes Network Systems.
In 2006 in February, Hughes Communications was spun off as a separate company with SkyTerra divesting its entire stake in the company to its shareholders.
In 2011, EchoStar Corp. agreed to buy parent Hughes Communications of Germantown in a deal worth about $2 billion, comprising stock and debt assumption.
In 2012 on July 5, EchoStar launched their EchoStar XVII satellite. This satellite provided 100 Gbit/s of capacity to their HughesNet product. In Q4 of 2012 HughesNet began offering their Gen4 product.
Subsidiaries of Hughes Communications
Hughes Network Systems
A wholly owned subsidiary, Hughes Network Systems is a provider of broadband satellite network products for businesses and consumers. Headquartered outside Washington, D.C., in Germantown, Maryland, USA, it maintains sales and support offices worldwide and employs approximately 1,500 people, in engineering, operations, marketing, sales and support. It also operates manufacturing facilities in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It first opened its doors in 1971 as a division of Hughes Aircraft's GM-merged subsidiary Hughes Electronics, which expanded in 1980 with the purchase of M/A-COM Telecommunications. In January 2003, the company was sold to SkyTerra Communications.
HughesNet is the brand under which Hughes Network Systems provides its one-way and two-way satellite Internet access technology and service in United States and Europe. HughesNet provides satellite internet access cross the contiguous United States in areas with a clear view of their satellite(s). From the United States these satellites are located in the southern sky. Originally branded as DirecPC and later DIRECWAY, it originally marketed to business customers as a side venture to the consumer product DIRECTV. In October 1996, operating as an independent entity, Hughes Communications expanded into the consumer market, primarily targeting "work-at-home consumers who might otherwise use ISDN". It officially changed its name on March 27, 2006. HughesNet services are sold directly throughout North America, and in Brazil, Europe, and India from authorized service providers and resellers.
HughesNet Gen4 service offers customers two-way satellite internet downstream speeds of up to 15 Mbps (Mbit/s) and upload speeds of up to 2 Mbps. However it is common to see faster download speeds of 20 Mbps. Data allowances are split between two time slots during a 24 hour period. The Anytime data allowance time slot is from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. And the Bonus Bytes data allowance time slot is from 2:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Depending on the customers service plan, Anytime data allowances are 5GB to 50GB per month. All plans have 50 GB per month of Bonus Bytes data allowance.  HughesNet pricing plans also include daily data allowances which, when reached or exceeded, will result in data transfer speed reductions to speeds of 158 kbit/s until the next day.  Actual costs and/or data plans and daily limits may change and are updated on their website.
Hughesnet has a 24-month contract period. There are high cancellation fees if the contract is ended early. At the end of service, the equipment has to be returned. HughesNet will send instructions on how to de-install equipment, but a third-party technician will do it for you for a fee determined by the technician.
The most notable difference in performance between a HughesNet's Gen4 broadband service and most cable and DSL internet services is the latency issues also referred to as high Ping (networking utility) times. The Gen4 ping times average between 600ms to 800ms as compared to 10ms to 80ms from cable, dsl and fiber services. For example Comcast Xfinity ping measured on average 30.92ms and Verizon FiOS was 24.28ms.  The reason for this is that data must travel approximately 45,000 miles with satellite Internet – from dish to satellite and back again. This creates a fraction of a second delay in Internet responsiveness. While browsing for a website or downloading content, this delay goes unnoticed. But during real-time multi-player games, this delay creates game latency (high ping) and an unreliable connection with the gaming server. Many game servers will auto-kick players who have a high ping, as it creates “lag” and disrupts gameplay for others.  In some situations real-time multi-player game play is possible, but this is the exception. Also VoIP services (e.g. Skype, Google Talk) suffer from the high ping times. However, they generally tolerate the ping delays better than real-time multi-player game play does. Two-way low quality video calls can be performed.
- "2010 Form 10-K, Hughes Communications, Inc.". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
- de la Merced, Michael (February 14, 2011). "EchoStar in $2.0 Billion Deal for Hughes Communications". New York Times.
- "EchoStar XVII Launch Page". EchoStar. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
- McCarthy, Shira (October 14, 1996). "Hughes brings DirecPC home". Telephony Online. Penton Media. Retrieved December 17, 2009.
- "Hughes Announces DirecPC(TM) Developed with ISR Device Driver". Archived from the original on April 1, 2002. (Original page returns "Error 404" as of February 14, 2011)
- "HughesNet Services". HughesNet. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- "New satellite to offer speeds comparable to DSL and Cable to residents living in rural areas.". A-SAT. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
- "HughesNet Fair Access Policy Gen4". HughesNet. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
- "Comcast Xfinity vs Verizon FiOS: A Thorough Comparison". High Speed Experts. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
- "HughesNet FAQS Gaming". HughesNet. Retrieved March 19, 2015.