ViaSat Teams With Loral on Broadband Internet Satellite

Boasting that it will offer Internet speeds faster than cable modems and DSL, ViaSat cut a deal with Space Systems/Loral to build a broadband satellite.

The companies said the ViaSat-1 satellite is designed to “significantly expand the quality, capability and availability of high-speed broadband satellite services for U.S. and Canadian consumers and enterprises.”

ViaSat said it secured $100 million in financing from partners for the satellite, which it plans to launch into space in early 2011.

The project involves several satellite broadband providers, including Loral, Telesat, and Eutelsat. Telesat’s ANIK F2 satellite was the world’s first major Ka-band spot beam satellite and provided the initial U.S. capacity for WildBlue Communications.

ViaSat said the broadband Internet satellite is designed to provide a range of speeds that “extend well above the median for cable and DSL at retail pricing the same as existing satellite services.”

The company said there are more than 600,000 satellite broadband subscribers today in hard-to-serve areas in the U.S. and Canada.

ViaSat did not detail pricing for the future broadband Internet service, but suggested that it would be competitive with current offers from cable TV providers and telephone companies.

“Day to day consumer internet interactions involving high-bandwidth activities like video and multimedia were not part of the plans when earlier satellite services were designed. We are aiming to give consumers a vastly improved experience based on the most advanced technology on the market,” ViaSat CEO Mark Dankberg said in Monday’s announcement. “These new capabilities are not only technologically very feasible, they’re also affordable, and the satellites announced by ViaSat and Eutelsat are designed to demonstrate this in a very capital-efficient and scalable manner.”