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ViaSat, Inc.
S&P 400 Component
Industry Communications
Founded Carlsbad, California, United States 1986 (1986)
Key people
Shawn Duffy (CFO)
Revenue Increase US$1.6 billion (2017) [1]
Decrease US$21.74 million (2015) [1]
Number of employees
3,300 (2014)
Subsidiaries NetNearU

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.[2][3][4] ViaSat is ranked on the SpaceNews Top 50 space companies and is also included on the Defense News list of Top 100 defense companies.[5] ViaSat owns and operates Exede Internet, a satellite Internet provider for over 657,000 households.[6][7][8][9] ViaSat launched its satellite, ViaSat-1, in 2011, and its second satellite, ViaSat-2, in June 2017.[10]


Early history (1986-2004)[edit]

ViaSat was co-founded in May 1986 by Mark Dankberg, Mark Miller and Steve Hart.[11][12][13] Mark Dankberg became chief executive officer and Mark Miller and Steve Hart became chief technical officers.[12] ViaSat received venture capital financing of $300,000 from Southern California Ventures.[12][13] In December of 1996, ViaSat had its initial public offering(IPO).[12][11] The company offered $20 million in stock to the public, leaving the founders with 28 percent of the company and venture capital backers with 20 percent.[14]

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.[15] ViaSat launched a spin-off company, TrellisWare Technology, in 2000. The self-funded company focuses on solutions for ground communications problems.[16][17]

In 2001, ViaSat started working with Boeing on Connexion broadband for airliners.[11] The company acquired Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications' products unit, Comsat Laboratories in 2001 for an undisclosed amount.[12][18][19] 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.[18][19][20] In 2001, ViaSat also purchased US Monolithics, a company focused on designing high frequency broadband circuitry, for around $30 million.[12][21][22] 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.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26]


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.[27] The WildBlue service was upgraded in 2007 using the satellite WildBlue-1, which launched the year before.[28][29]

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.[30][13] 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.[31][13]

ViaSat acquired JAST Antenna Systems, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2007. JAST develops microwave circuits and antennas for terrestrial and mobile satellite applications.[32]

In December 2009, ViaSat bought WildBlue, based in Colorado, for $568 million in cash and stock.[33] ViaSat issued 4.3 million shares for the stock component of the purchase.[3] The United States Government granted stimulus funding to WildBlue to expand broadband coverage in rural areas.[34][35][36]

In 2010, ViaSat bought Stonewood Group of Dorset, England, an encryption company, for $20 million in cash and stock.[37]

In 2013, ViaSat contributed $1 million to University of California, San Diego's Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination.[12] In January 2013, ViaSat broke ground for its expansion in Duluth, Georgia. The building was 60,000 square feet and a $10.5 million investment, which made Duluth the second largest location after the company’s headquarters in Carlsbad, California at the time.[38] ViaSat also acquired LonoCloud, a company focused on cloud networking software, in 2013.[39][40][41] In July 2013, ViaSat was licensed by the Federal Communications Commission for Ka-band aeronautical earth stations.[42]

In 2014, ViaSat partnered with Thuraya Telecommunications, a mobile satellite services operator, to provide M2M services (machine 2 machine).[43] The same year, ViaSat entered a partnership with LightSquared to work on M2M services in vehicular and aviation devices.[44][45] ViaSat also teamed with Southern California Edison to provide an easy transition into operational networks.[46] 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.[7][8][9]

On June 1, 2017, ViaSat's $624 million Internet satellite, ViaSat-2, was launched. The launch was originally scheduled for April 25, 2017, but was delayed due to the 2017 social unrest in French Guiana.[47][48]


ViaSat has three satellites, ViaSat-1, WildBlue1, and Anik-F2.[49] It purchased WildBlue in 2009, which had 2 satellites and 400,000 customers.[11] Space Systems/Loral built ViaSat-1 and it launched from Kazakhstan in October 2011 and entered service in January 2012.[11][33][12] ViaSat-1 can handle about 1 million users, and covers the residential US with additional coverage in Hawaii, Canada and Alaska through a Ka-band connection.[11]

ViaSat-1 runs on fixed beams trained on certain geographic areas and that will be expanded with the launch of ViaSat-2.[50] ViaSat-2 is under construction and due to launch in June 2017.[10] ViaSat has partnered with Boeing to build the satellite.[51] The coverage area will include Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, parts of northern South America and aeronautical and maritime routes across the Atlantic Ocean.[51][11]

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.[52]

Exede Internet[edit]

Exede Internet is a satellite Internet provider owned by ViaSat and reliant on ViaSat Satellites. The company provides satellite internet, voice over internet (VoiP), in-flight internet, and business satellite internet to over 657,000 customers.[6][7][9]

Exede Internet was launched in 2012, Exede Voice was announced June 13, 2013 which works through Exede Internet and is paired with satellite internet.[53] Exede in-flight WiFi is used by JetBlue, United Airlines, and Virgin America.[54][55][56]

Exede internet supports speeds of up to 25Mbps[57] and its business internet supports speeds of up to 15Mbps.[55] Exede partners with DirecTV to offer customers internet and TV bundles.[58]

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.[59]

ViaSat Critical Infrastructure Security was introduced in 2013, designed to stop security breaches and monitor operation of grid networks using real-time intelligence.[60] The process adds encrypted sensors to the critical national infrastructure networks and monitors all abnormal activity through a security operations center.[61] 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.[62][63]

Government communications[edit]

ViaSat also offers mobile two-way satellite broadband solutions to the United States Government.[64] 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.[65] 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.[42] 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.[66] 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.[67]


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