Viasat's Impressive Broadband Solution

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Viasat's Impressive Broadband Solution

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Viasat was founded in the CEO’s garage in eighties and the three founders are still with us. One, Mark Dankberg, is CEO,” said Cody Catalena (above), VP & GM of Global Business Solutions Business in an exclusive, live, in-person interview.

The company started making and selling hardware components to the military and government and thought satellite could be better. It’s a company of 75% engineers so what would you expect?

The company brought viable high-speed satellite internet to homes with Viasat-1 and further purchased WildBlue Networks providing far superior service. Last year they launched Viasat-2 with more than double the capacity and bandwidth economics of Viasat-1 allowing for unlimited plans to consumers and high-speed services on airplanes.

This allows for a staggering 10-20 Mbps per passenger available on airlines like JetBlue, United and American Airlines Eric Stark (below), Director of Channel Sales told us.

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When people aren’t convinced satellite can provide sufficient broadband performance, they often point to airline performance traveling at 500 mph.

Perhaps the biggest perceived drawback of satellite is 600-700 ms latency which they believe is not a deal-breaker for most applications.

We’ve actually used the service with real-time multi-player gaming and were impressed a how well the service performed. Specifically, we used the paid service on JetBlue to play Gameloft’s Modern Combat 5.

“We offer broadband speeds to 96% of the U.S.” Cody exclaimed. “Our flagship service is 35x4 (down/up) unlimited for $175/month. We also have 60 Mbps and 100 Mbps solutions and can install in 3-5 business days.”

They say in rural and suburban markets, they fit a need in the channel.

“Latency is not a problem for voice and video,” he exclaimed. “We installed in Mexico where there was just electricity. When we walked in the streets of the town, there was better phone call quality than a cell call,” Said Cody.

They are about to launch integrated voice across their network.

They reiterated that latency is not a huge issue for what customers need but Citrix sometimes has issues. For most business apps, there are no issues.

They work with most VoIP and UCaaS providers but users may need to tweak settings like time-out and RT timers from 150 ms to 1,000 ms to account for increased latency. If not, the network could get flooded.

In response to a question regarding Low Earth Orbit satellite competition to their GEO – it seems a new company gets funded each week – including Amazon entering the market. They explained their satellites are geostationary meaning they orbit with the earth.

Newer LEO micro-satellites are lower in orbit, don’t stay in one place so cost is not lower as much of the bandwidth is over water. The upside is lower latency. They hinted there may be a good GEO-LEO solution – LEO is not a disrupter but serves a different market need they explained.

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