Viasat, Inc.

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Viasat, Inc.
Public
Traded as NASDAQVSAT
S&P 400 Component
Industry Communications
Founded Carlsbad, California, United States 1986 (1986)
Key people
Shawn Duffy (CFO)
Products
Services Secure networking
Satellite Internet access
Revenue Increase US$1.56 billion (2017) [1]
Increase US$23.8 million (2017) [1]
Number of employees
4,700 (2017)[2]
Subsidiaries NetNearU
Website viasat.com

Viasat Inc. is a communications company based in Carlsbad, California, with additional operations across the United States and worldwide. Viasat is a provider of high-speed satellite broadband services and secure networking systems covering military and commercial markets.[3][4][5]

History[edit]

Viasat was co-founded in May 1986 by Mark Dankberg, Mark Miller and Steve Hart.[6][7][8] Mark Dankberg became chief executive officer and Mark Miller and Steve Hart became chief technical officers.[7] Viasat received venture capital financing of $300,000 from Southern California Ventures.[7][8] In December 1996, Viasat had its initial public offering(IPO).[7][6] In 1999, Viasat moved into its headquarters in Carlsbad, California.[9] Viasat launched a spin-off company, TrellisWare Technology, in 2000. The self-funded company focuses on solutions for ground communications problems.[10][11]

The acquisition of the satellite networking business of Scientific-Atlanta for $75 million in cash in 2000 helped Viasat to focus on providing technology for interactive services to businesses.[12]

In 2001, Viasat started working with Boeing on Connexion broadband for airliners.[6] The company acquired Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications' products unit, Comsat Laboratories in 2001 for an undisclosed amount.[7][13][14] Comsat Laboratories is Viasat's technology and product development group for communication systems focusing on developing new technologies for extremely bandwidth efficient, high data rate satellite transmission.[13][14][15] In 2001, Viasat also purchased US Monolithics, a company focused on designing high frequency broadband circuitry, for around $30 million.[7][16][17]

Eutelsat entered an agreement in 2001 to use Viasat’s LinkStar high performance IP terminals for their broadband multimedia network over Ku-based FSS satellites.[18] ViaSat entered a joint venture in 2001 with Loral Skynet to found Immeon Networks to develop the Immeon satellite bandwidth-on-demand service sold in monthly managed service plans. ABC News used Immeon to improve its voice and data-communications for on-location news.[19]

Viasat won a contract with WildBlue Communications worth $16 million in March 2001 to build WildBlue's satellite modems to support the company’s initial service launch.[20] WildBlue signed a second contract with Viasat in 2001 for $17 million and Viasat would develop and produce satellite modem termination systems for six gateway stations.[21]

WildBlue launched its internet service in October 2004 after gaining Ka-band transponder capacity on the Telesat Anik F2 satellite. It conducted formal technical testing until January 2005, followed by nationwide beta testing before the first residential retail customers had services installed in June.[22] The WildBlue service was upgraded in 2007 using the satellite WildBlue-1, which launched the year before.[23]

In 2005, Viasat acquired Efficient Channel Coding, a producer of broadband communication integrated circuits and satellite communication systems, which gave Viasat access to the IPStar satellite broadband market.[24][8] Enerdyne, a defense technology firm, was acquired by Viasat in 2006 for an initial investment of $17 million adding its EnerLinks II video data link equipment to Viasat’s defense products.[25][8]

Viasat acquired JAST Antenna Systems, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2007. JAST develops microwave circuits and antennas for terrestrial and mobile satellite applications.[26]

On December 15, 2009, Viasat bought WildBlue, based in Colorado, for $568 million in cash and stock. Wildblue also brings its WildBlue-1 satellite and Ka-band capacity on on Telesat’s Anik F1 about $75 million in cash, $45 in tax losses bring the net purchase price to about $445 million.[27] In 2010, Viasat bought Stonewood Group of Dorset, England, an encryption company, for $20 million in cash and stock.[28]

In January 2013, Viasat broke ground for its expansion in Duluth, Georgia, the second largest location after the company’s headquarters in Carlsbad, California at the time.[citation needed] In 2015, Viasat opened a 116,000 square foot facility at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona.[29] The Arizona campus focuses on design and manufacturing of advanced microwave communication and radar products, radio frequency systems and cybersecurity.[30] In 2016, Viasat announced a research and development facility in Chennai, India.[31][32] In 2017, Viasat broke ground on a 80,000 square foot facility on the ATLAS property near the Texas A&M Health Science Center in Bryan, Texas.[33][34]

Viasat also acquired LonoCloud, a company focused on cloud networking software, in 2013.[35][36][37]


In 2014, Viasat partnered with Thuraya Telecommunications, a mobile satellite services operator, to provide M2M services (machine 2 machine).[38] The same year, Viasat entered a partnership with LightSquared to work on M2M services in vehicular and aviation devices.[39][40] Viasat also teamed with Southern California Edison to provide an easy transition into operational networks.[41] NetNearU based in Bryan/College Station, Texas was acquired in 2014. Focused on government and enterprise customers, NetNearU has a wifi management system called TRACKOS, a cloud-based software.[42][43][44] ViaSat acquired Gray Labs, a company that specialized in satellite-to-earth communications for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in July 2014.[45]

Viasat acquired network virtualization company Engreen in 2015 to enhance its Flexible Broadband System.[46][47] In March 2015, Viasat acquired EAI Design Services in order to add its Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) and Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) microprocessor design into satellite and cybersecurity projects.[48]

In 2016, Viasat acquired Arconics, an aviation software solutions provider based in Dublin, Ireland. The company added 40 Arconics employees to its staff and expanded its software offerings as a result of the acquisition.[49]

In 2017, Viasat formed a joint venture with the European satellite operator Eutelsat.[50] As part of the venture, the companies will jointly operate two new business entities with one owning and operating Eutesat's KA-SAT satellite and wholesale broadband business and the other purchasing KA-SAT satellite-based capacity and marketing retail broadband internet services throughout Europe. Both businesses will be headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland.[51]

The company launched its its third satellite, ViaSat-2 on June 1, 2017[52] and ViaSat-3, a high-capacity three satellite class, is expected to launch in 2020.[53]

Satellites[edit]

In July 2013, Viasat was licensed by the Federal Communications Commission for Ka-band aeronautical earth stations.[54] Viasat has four satellites: ViaSat-1, WildBlue1, Anik-F2 and ViaSat-2.[55]

  • ViaSat-1: Space Systems/Loral built ViaSat-1 and it launched from Kazakhstan in October 2011 and entered service in January 2012.[6][58][7] ViaSat-1 covers the residential US with additional coverage in Hawaii, Canada and Alaska through a Ka-band connection.[6] ViaSat-1 runs on fixed beams trained on certain geographic areas.[59]
  • ViaSat-3: In November 2015, Viasat announced that it was planning to order the first of three ViaSat-3 Ka-band satellites that would expand coverage globally with throughput capacity of one terabit per second for each of the satellites.[63] The company says the constellation, when complete, will have more capacity than the rest of the world combined.[64]

The first ViaSat-3 is due to be launched by Arianespace in 2019 and there is a contract for a Falcon Heavy launch for another ViaSat-3 class satellite around 2020.[53]

Exede/Viasat Internet[edit]

Launched in 2012 under the Exede name, Viasat Internet is a broadband internet service that covers areas traditional terrestrial internet service providers do not reach.[65][66] In 2013, the Voice home service was introduced as a companion to the data service.[67][68][69] The company also distributes a business internet, initially called Exede Business, which was launched in 2014.[68][70]

Viasat's Exede Internet is powered by Viasat's ViaSat-1 satellite.[71][72][73][74] Initially the satellite broadband internet was launched as a response to the lack of coverage provided by terrestrial services.[74] The 12 Mbit/s service was faster than earlier satellite internet access options such as WildBlue which could reach 1.5 Mbit/s. In 2016, a 25 Mbit/s download speed was introduced in some areas, as well as a new modem supporting the new speed tier that includes an integrated Wi-Fi router and VoIP adapter.[75]

The internet service covers most of the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii.[72][76] Between 2012 and 2015, the Federal Communications Commission has reported that Viasat's Exede Internet met or surpassed advertised speeds. In the 2015 report, download speeds were just over 100% of advertised, while upload speeds topped 150% of advertised speeds.[77]

In-flight internet[edit]

In December 2013, Viasat launched its in-flight WiFi service on JetBlue.[78] The company has since expanded the service to other airlines including United Airlines, American Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Virgin America and Qantas.[79][80][81]

Security systems[edit]

Eclypt hard drives and external USB drives produced by Viasat are encrypted to ensure that data stored cannot be retrieved if a computer or storage device is stolen. Eclypt drives are used by governments, military forces, and law enforcement agencies.[82]

Viasat Critical Infrastructure Security was introduced in 2013, designed to stop security breaches and monitor operation of grid networks using real-time intelligence.[83] The process adds encrypted sensors to the critical national infrastructure networks and monitors all abnormal activity through a security operations center.[84] Viasat is working in conjunction with Southern California Edison to enhance their critical infrastructure security systems through a funding from the U.S. Department of Energy meant to improve protection of the nation's electric grid and oil and gas infrastructure from cyber-attack.[85][86]

Government communications[edit]

Viasat also offers mobile two-way satellite broadband solutions to the United States Government.[87] Tactical communications for the US military involves tactical data, information assurance, and satellite communications. Tactical data links provide secure networking for voice and data. Information assurance for encryption devices allow for the transfer of classified data across public networks. Satellite communications give real-time intelligence for command and control functions.[88] The US government uses ArcLight technology over a managed private network that operates on Ku-band satellite links and can use the Yonder global satellite network as well.[54] The worldwide satellite broadband access that Viasat offers allows for airborne mobile broadband for en route communications. The company has an airborne mobility program for C-17 jets and encrypts the satellite to hub link connections for the government.[89] Viasat’s Satellite Access Manager (SAM) supports Department of Defense missions through airborne intelligence for surveillance and reconnaissance operations. SAM increases bandwidth utilization and efficiency through real-time network monitoring systems for the ArcLight2 broadband terminals.[90]

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