ViaSat Values WildBlue Order at $200 Million

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  Space News Business

ViaSat Values WildBlue Order at $200 Million

By PETER B. de SELDING
Space News Staff Writer
posted: 23 May 2007
04:18 pm ET





paris



ViaSat Inc. said its contract to provide WildBlue Communications Inc. with some 500,000 Ka-band consumer-broadband terminals has a value of about $200 million, including support services and improvements to the WildBlue ground network.

Mark Dankberg, chief executive of Carlsbad, Calif.-based ViaSat,




said the order, which ultimately could




surpass 500,000 SurfBeam terminals, “lets both us and WildBlue start thinking about encores.”

Dankberg
said in a May 14 conference call with investors that the order




also will strengthen ViaSat’s position in Europe if one or more of the satellite operators there decides to move into consumer satellite broadband. ViaSat




already is under contract to satellite-fleet operator Eutelsat of Paris to supply a smaller number of terminals.



Dankberg
said sales and subscriptions of terminals for WildBlue




have exceeded expectations since the WildBlue-1 satellite became operational in March.

ViaSat
has filed for U.S. regulatory approval of its own Ka-band satellite but it remains unclear whether the company wants to start its own business or join with WildBlue or another service provider.

“We have found that if you develop the space segment and the ground segment as a whole, you can get a dramatic improvement in capacity, reduce congestion and better scale the business,” Dankberg said. “With the success of WildBlue, the need for a new satellite, or a series of satellites, is becoming clear.”

ViaSat
said a recent order from the U.S. Defense Department for what are known as Blue-Force Tracking terminals – gear that permits allied forces to determine each other’s location to avoid friendly




fire casualties – could total 100,000 terminals.

ViaSat
, whose financial year ends March 31, said fiscal-year 2007 revenues were $516.6 million, a 19 percent increase over 2006. Net profit, at $30.2 million, was up 28.5 percent over the previous year. The company forecasts that revenue for the fiscal year ending next March 31 would grow by 16 percent, to around $600 million.