Market for Space-Based Internet Service Heats Up for ViaSat

8/16/10Follow @bvbigelow

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accelerate development of high-speed broadband services they offer through cable and telecommunications networks.

So how does ViaSat view the intensifying competition?

In an e-mail sent to the company first thing this morning, I observed that ViaSat undoubtedly expected some competition eventually. But is all this happening sooner than expected, I wondered? And how does ViaSat keep the high ground, so to speak?

Citing information that ViaSat has previously provided to the investment and technical communities, CEO Dankberg writes in response:

” Obviously we’ve been aware of the Hughes satellite since it was announced. We believe it is about 1½-years behind ours, and that’s within the window that we anticipated.

“We believe that there is a significant competitive advantage to having the most cost-effective broadband capability at each point in time, and that a 1½-year advantage is important.

“We also expect that it will be an ongoing competition, and that longer term, the ability to sustain a broadband economic advantage will be very important. We are comfortable competing in that environment. That would imply the ability to make meaningful improvements to ViaSat-1 type satellites for the foreseeable future.”

ViaSat spokesman Bruce Rowe adds: “Before we announced our satellite, no one was talking about 100-gigabit-per-second satellites. We put a lot of effort into the design of our satellite—far more than most satellite customers do prior to contracting with a manufacturer. Many elements of the design have been submitted for patent protection…ViaSat-1 also is just the first step, and we believe we can continue to design even higher capacity satellites, to build on our first-to-market advantage.”

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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