Hughes has been handed over the on-orbit operations of the Spaceway 3 satellite on December 18th 2007. This was a historic occasion and CEO Pradman Kaul thanked the Boeing team for successfully placing the satellite in the orbit. With this Hughes will move aggressively to provide broadband communication services to enterprises, consumer, Small and Medium businesses and the Government sector. The satellite was launched in August from the Arianespace launch facility in Kourou, French Guiana. Operating on the globally assigned Ka-band spectrum it will help Hughes offer high speed Satellite Internet services to customers all over North America. There are many benefits that Hughes will derive from the Spaceway 3 satellite. Spaceway 3 is the third in the Spaceway series. The first two satellites offer high definition Television services to DirecTV customers.
The new satellite will help to offer user-to-user communication at broadband speed. The advanced antenna will enable maximum frequency re-use. The 10 Gbps gross capacity will offer 10 times the capacity of conventional Ku-Band satellite systems. This will give Hughes the technical edge that was needed to stay ahead of its closest competitor Wildblue. Mr. Arunas Slekys, VP of Corporate Marketing at Hughes spoke of the advantage of single-hop technology available with the Spaceway 3 satellite over the two hop system. He said that the satellite contains the switch logic and beam formation logic which focuses the data from the satellite to a specific location on the ground. The onboard switching and routing functionality is the first of its kind in the world. Hughes can unleash the full benefits of the Spaceway 3 satellite once the IPv6 becomes operational. The IPv6 or the Internet Protocol Version 6 when fully developed will be advantageous to Hughes. The new protocol is being developed because the IPv4 is running short of addresses that need to be given to machines getting connected to the Internet everyday. The Spaceway 3 built at a cost of US$2 billion will help Hughes reach out to the 15 million customers in rural America who do not have access to broadband Internet facilities.
Hughes is also tying up with partners to take satellite broadband services to the boonies. Hughes is collaborating with Public Technology Inc. for this purpose. The new satellite is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the continuing growth in enterprise broadband requirements also. Along with advanced technology such as onboard switching the Spaceway 3 also combines the advantages of traditional satellites such as broadcast/multicast, high data rates and mesh connectivity. The satellite comes with the most advanced packet transmission and infrastructure combined with IP-user based interfaces. It also has satellite terminals, comprehensive network management and service management functionality which are all optimized to provide end-to-end solutions in satellite broadband services.
Satellite Broadband Internet technology is changing very fast and customers can expect many value added services from service providers like Hughes. The biggest beneficiary of satellite Internet services will be the residents of rural America who have so far been denied broadband Internet access.