SAN FRANCISCO — Viasat announced plans Nov. 19 to purchase the remaining assets of the European joint venture it established with Eutelsat Communications for 140 million euros ($166 million), including the KA-SAT broadband satellite.
Viasat says it is open to building a constellation of nearly 300 satellites in low Earth orbit if it can qualify for some of the $20.4 billion in broadband subsidies the U.S. Federal Communications Commission intends to dole out under the Rural Digital Opportunities Fund.
Yuri Prokhorov, RSCC’s chief executive, said the company wants to have the satellites in orbit in 2024 to provide Ku-band coverage to Russia’s Far North.
Tarana Wireless has raised $200 million in total from investors that include AT&T, Deutsche Telekom and Wyler’s 1010 Holdings, LLC.
Viasat CEO Mark Dankberg said the company has executed an agreement with Boeing for a third ViaSat-3 satellite, securing the last spacecraft needed for global Ka-band coverage.
Eutelsat on May 14 said it is taking steps to secure a foothold in the European broadband market after last month’s decision to forgo jointly funding a satellite with Viasat turned the two companies into direct competitors.
Eutelsat’s decision to scrap an investment in Viasat’s ViaSat-3 system in favor of a fully-owned satellite means the two companies will now be competitors in the European broadband market — a stance analysts view as bad for both operators.
The world’s biggest, best established satellite operators talk of broadband as an enormously lucrative opportunity. But in truth, nothing is causing them more frustration.
Startup company Astranis has raised $18 million to provide broadband internet access from space using small satellites in geostationary orbit.
Australia’s NBN Co. on May 31 said it will use the full capacity of its second Ka-band spot-beam satellite, scheduled for launch this year, to accommodate the faster-than-expected rise in bandwidth demand rather than keep it as an in-orbit spare.
As has been the case with U.S. consumer satellite broadband providers, NBN’s challenge is to assure a guaranteed minimum throughput for all subscribers.
ViaSat Inc. on Nov. 9 said it is likely to order the first of what is intended as a three-satellite constellation of ViaSat-3 Ka-band broadband satellites covering the globe with throughput capacity of 1 terabit per second each.
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell on Oct. 27 downplayed the company’s 4,000-satellite broadband Internet constellation, saying the project remained “very speculative” pending a deeper assessment of its business case.