Hughes Communications

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Hughes Communications, Inc.
Founded 1971; 47 years ago (1971)
Headquarters Germantown, Maryland, United States
Area served
Key people
Pradman Kaul
(Chairman, President and CEO)
Services Global communications
Revenue Increase US$ 257.45 million (2010)[1]
Increase US$ 85.62 million (2010)[1]
Increase US$22.79 million (2010)[1]
Total assets Increase US$1.363 billion (2010)[1]
Total equity Increase US$340.0 million (2010)[1]
Number of employees
2,254 (December 2010)[1]
Parent EchoStar (2011–present)
Subsidiaries Hughes Network Systems←

Hughes Communications is an American enterprise, it is a leading provider of satellite communications services.[2] The company operates its satellite business through its wholly owned subsidiary, Hughes Network Systems LLC.

In 2011, Hughes was acquired by EchoStar in a deal valued at US$1.3 billion.[3]

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 and Dr. Burton Edelson. The first employee was Gene Gabbard, the second was Andy Werth. The company started with $40,000 in investment from the founders. The first contract was a consulting contract for Telesat on a TDMA transmission system via satellite. NEC, led by Tadahiro Sekimoto who had spent two years at Comsat, signed the second contract with DCC and invested one million dollars.[4] 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 (now known as MACOM Technology Solutions. 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.

The M/A-Com Telecommunication was sold to Hughes Aircraft Company in 1987. Hughes Aircraft was then owned by General Motors, because it had acquired it in 1985 after the death of Howard Hughes.

By 1996 the Hughes Network Systems division had $220 million 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 2005, 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. When 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.[5]

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.[6] 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[edit]

  • Hughes Network Systems India Ltd
  • Hughes Network Systems International
  • Hughes Network Systems Limited
  • HNX Americas Comunicacoes Ltda
  • HCIL Comtel Ltd
  • Hughes Network Systems S.r.L.
  • Utah Acquisition Corp
  • HNS License Sub, LLC
  • Hughes Network Systems
  • Hughes Network Systems GmbH
  • Advance Satellite Research LLC
  • HNS India VSAT Inc
  • Helius Acquisition LLC
  • Hughes Telecomunica
  • HNS Participacoes e Empreendiment
  • HNS Real Estate, LLC
  • HNS Finance Corp
  • Electronic Systems Products Inc.
  • Helius, LLC
  • HNS Mauritius Ltd
  • HNS Shanghai Inc
  • Hughes Network Systems (Beijing)Co., Ltd
  • P.T. Hughes Network Systems Indonesia
  • HNS License Sub Limited [7]

Hughes Network Systems[edit]

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[8][9] 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".[8][9] 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 Mbit/s (Mbit/s) and upload speeds of up to 2 Mbit/s.[10] However it is common to see download speeds of 10-50 Kbit/s. 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. In 2016 the FCC ranked Hughesnet #1 in the nation among all Internet providers for providing speeds that they advertise, even during peak times. Depending on the customer's service plan, Anytime data allowances are 5GB to 50GB per month. All plans have 50 GB per month of Bonus Bytes data allowance.[11] HughesNet pricing plans also include monthly data allowances, which, when reached or exceeded, will result in data transfer speed reductions to speeds of 158 kbit/s until the next billing cycle.[12] Actual costs and/or data plans and monthly 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 may do it 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 issue, also referred to as high ping times. The Gen4 ping times average 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.[13] 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.[14] 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.

HughesNet Gen5 is the latest generation of satellite Internet service from Hughes Network Systems. At its launch on March 16, 2017, HughesNet Gen5 became the first satellite Internet service to offer FCC-defined broadband speeds from coast-to-coast. HughesNet Gen5 delivers download speeds of 25 Mbit/s and upload speeds of 3 Mbit/s as well as higher data limits and an integrated modem with built-in Wi-Fi . All HughesNet Gen5 plans also include 50 gigabytes of Bonus Zone data to use for free between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. In addition to its residential offering, HughesNet for Business plans offer high-speed satellite Internet service for small businesses anywhere within the continental United States and Alaska. HughesNet for Business plans include the same broadband speed of 25 Mbit/s in every plan, as well as service plans which offer more daytime data for use during normal business hours.

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) annual report on consumer broadband services has ranked HughesNet satellite Internet service first among all major Internet service providers (ISPs) for delivering on advertised performance promises for two consecutive years (2015-2016).

[15] [16] [17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "2010 Form 10-K, Hughes Communications, Inc". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ de la Merced, Michael (February 14, 2011). "EchoStar in $2.0 Billion Deal for Hughes Communications". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ A Life Well Lived: An Oral History of Burton I Edelson, Privately published, March 6, 2001 [full citation needed]
  5. ^ McCarthy, Ellen (November 11, 2005). "DirecTV to Sell Hughes Investment". Washington Post. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  6. ^ "EchoStar XVII Launch Page". EchoStar. Retrieved September 29, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Subsidiaries of Hughes Communications, Inc". SEC. 12 April 2006. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  8. ^ a b McCarthy, Shira (October 14, 1996). "Hughes brings DirecPC home". Telephony Online. Penton Media. Retrieved December 17, 2009. 
  9. ^ a b "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)
  10. ^ "HughesNet Services". HughesNet. Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
  11. ^ "New satellite to offer speeds comparable to DSL and Cable to residents living in rural areas". A-SAT. Retrieved September 29, 2012. 
  12. ^ "HughesNet Fair Access Policy Gen4". HughesNet. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Comcast Xfinity vs Verizon FiOS: A Thorough Comparison". High Speed Experts. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  14. ^ "HughesNet FAQS Gaming". HughesNet. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
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  17. ^ i