Service Development & Applications (2008)

Wildblue

In the private sector, SSPI recognizes Wildblue for the successful introduction of two-way broadband Internet service to homes and businesses across the United States via Ka-band satellite. With a mission to "make affordable broadband Internet access available to everyone," Wildblue uses a 26-inch satellite antenna and industry-standard consumer premise equipment to both transmit and receive. Wildblue began service with leased capacity aboard Telesat's Anik F2 satellite, and then launched its own dedicated satellite in December 2006. In the process, the company has developed new satellite technology, featuring extensive reuse of frequencies in narrow spot beams, and led the commercial introduction of the Ka frequency band. This combination substantially lowers the cost of serving each subscriber, making an affordable service possible. The target market is the estimated 20-25 million US homes and small office/home office (SOHO) users, largely in rural markets, without affordable access to terrestrial broadband. Wildblue provides them a reliable, always-on Internet connection that is 30 times faster than dial-up, as well as email, VPN and other services. Investors in the company include Intelsat, the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (which helps to market the service), Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Liberty Media, and Telesat. Strategic partners include AT&T, Google, Yahoo, and Udcast.

 

Global VSAT Forum

In the nonprofit sector, SSPI recognizes the Global VSAT Forum (GVF) for its leadership role in the successful effort to protect C-band satellite spectrum at the ITU's 2007 World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC-07). Based in London, GVF works to create greater awareness of the benefits of VSAT and other satellite communications. In recent years, emerging broadband services have begun to use portions of the C-band frequency spectrum, causing severe interference to C-band satellite services. GVF became aware of these problems when the first deployments took place in developing nations, where it is most active. During preparations for WRC-07, terrestrial broadband technology companies filed requests to allocate portions of the C and Extended C-bands for terrestrial use. In response, GVF began an educational campaign for regulators and member companies, and led a group of associations including SSPI in issuing position papers and filing regulatory briefs with the ITU. Spurred by these efforts, the industry developed a united position and, on November 16, 2007 four weeks of negotiations in Geneva led to approval of a "no change" motion by the Conference. According to Forbes.Com, "This outcome shows overwhelming recognition of the need for continued interference-free operation of C-band satellite services that are essential for the provision of national over-the-air and cable television services, emergency and disaster recovery communications, Internet services and mobile and wireline telephony trunking services."

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