ViaSat Enrolls 285K in Internet Satellite Service; CEO Talks Costs

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problem framed the way we did…

With Viasat-1 in the United States, we spend less than one thousand dollars per home to provide people with satellite broadband. To the extent that satellite is actually an acceptable, good solution for people, it’s enormously more cost-effective.

X: It sounds like what the telecom industry likes to call “a green field opportunity.”

MD: In Australia, they have similar worries there as the U.S. does, that we’re not in the top three in broadband speeds. In places like Korea, Taiwan, or Singapore, which are enormously dense, with very large numbers of people packed in small areas, they have a big advantage in the economics [of fiber broadband]. But if you look at lots of other market around the world, where people aren’t so densely packed, and where they do not have existing telecom infrastructure, cable TV infrastructure—that kind of environment goes really well with satellites.

X: So would you anticipate other opportunities for ViaSat in other countries, or are you thinking in some other dimension?

MD: It does indicate opportunities in other countries. And I think that those would come about in two ways. Number one, I think there will be other countries that will subsidize [satellite-based] programs. There are a number already that use satellites in a subsidized way. But they don’t pay much attention to how much bandwidth they’re getting. We are much more focused on delivering bandwidth. This is something that we’re really good at, and that’s an area [where] we can compete well. The other thing is, it’s going to improve the economy of scale, it’s going to help us push technology forward. In the long run, what I see is that you won’t need government subsidies to deliver broadband.

We still have issues in a lot of places where governments refuse to allow people to use satellite for Internet use. One example is in India. Another one would be China. These are big markets where satellites could … Next Page »

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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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