AIX2016: Buchman says ViaSat-3 will revolutionise industry

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Don Buchman, Viasat's Director of Mobile Broadband.
Don Buchman, ViaSat’s Director of Mobile Broadband.

ViaSat says its future range of ViaSat-3 Ka-band satellites will revolutionise its offering around the globe.

Speaking at the Aircraft Interiors Expo, Don Buchman, ViaSat’s Director of Mobile Broadband, said the ViaSat-3 satellites will be a step change for the company.

Two and half years in we have had a paradigm shift in the market with our Ka-band success with JetBlue, our Virgin launch with Netflix and with Amazon coming on board.

We’ve really been changing the face of inflight Wi-Fi from a paid-for model that only six or seven per cent of passengers used, to a model that lets everyone get access.”

ViaSat-2 is due for launch in the first quarter of 2017 and will extend the company’s Ka-band coverage over the Atlantic Ocean, plus add additional capacity over Canada and Central America.

Buchman said ViaSat-2 will double the throughput capacity of ViaSat-1, giving around 450 Gbps of combined capacity. Include the Ka-band Eutelsat KA-SAT over Europe and ViaSat will have access to more than 500Gbps of capacity, stretching from Los Angeles to Istanbul.

But Buchman said ViaSat-2 will now launch with Arianespace instead of SpaceX.

“We still have contracts with SpaceX – our second ViaSat-3 will be launched with them,” Buchman said. “But we moved ViaSat-2 to Arianespace because of launch schedule constraints.”

The launch of ViaSat-2 is just an overture for what will then follow.

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ViaSat-3 will add a whole new dimension to ViaSat’s capacity, adding three terabits globally from around 2020 after the first launch, with a second satellite launch shortly after, and a third after that.

The first two satellites will focus on the Americas and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), respectively, with a third satellite system planned for the Asia Pacific region, completing ViaSat’s global service coverage.

Once all three satellites are in position Buchman says it will be able to offer more than 200 times the Ka-band capacity of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress solution.

“We are not making our investment just for the aeronautical or the maritime markets. We are aiming at the home consumer and the airlines benefit,” Buchman said.

He also said that its capacity with ViaSat-3 would allow airlines to consider doing away with their seat-back IFE systems.

“Each passenger is now carrying their own entertainment system. Once they get on the aircraft we allow them to carry on just as they would on the ground.

“When given the opportunity they want to use their own devices and our global Ka-band in-flight connectivity will let them stream what they want,” Buchman concluded.

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