Satellite must be part of the broadband technology mix

Lack of good internet is a problem in the U.S. and beyond, and it will take more than traditional ISPs to realize digital inclusion for all.


Today, more than 24 million people in the United States cannot enjoy the benefits of high-quality broadband internet because they’re caught on the wrong side of the digital divide. That means they either can’t get speeds fast enough to meet their needs, or, in some cases, there’s simply no service available where they live or work.

People who live in these areas know very well that they’ve been left behind—they can’t connect with families, can’t get the best health care, and don’t have access to the same educational opportunities. Their local governments, Congressional representatives, and the FCC know it too and are spending time, effort and money to investigate and support deployment of broadband technologies that will help bridge the digital divide.

So, what’s taking so long? A number of technologies are currently available for most of the United States. These include fiber, cable, DSL and terrestrial mobile networks. But in areas where these technologies aren’t economical or technologically feasible to deploy, there’s only one technology that can truly fill the gaps: satellite broadband.

Satellite broadband, like that being deployed by Viasat Internet, can reach where fiber and cable can’t or won’t go. In many rural areas where DSL exists, the homes and businesses are so far from the DSL hub or internet access locations that the service is very slow. Viasat, however, has coverage over all 50 states and recently expanded coverage to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and even air and maritime routes all the way to Europe. Our next generation of satellites will cover the entire world, starting with deployment of the first satellite over the Americas in expected in the next few years. Once fully deployed, Viasat will be the world’s first global internet service provider (ISP).

To do that, we are raising the awareness of satellite as part of the solution for digital inclusion. Satellite also requires access to critical spectrum resources—just like terrestrial wireless solutions—in order to beam signals efficiently from space with the highest-capacity possible between internet gateways connecting end users to high-quality fiber. Having access to the spectrum enabling maximum use of the satellites will allow broadband consumers to enjoy the next-generation of connectivity.

As regulators in the United States and around the world assess the best cases for spectrum use, including for greater digital inclusion, it’s important to recognize how cost-effective satellite broadband is at delivering internet service to hard-to-reach areas. We continue to work to improve our networks, deploying more efficient and powerful space and ground components. And earlier this year, we launched the fastest satellite-based residential and enterprise internet ever, with speeds up to 100 Mbps in select areas across the United States.

Viasat is working hard to break down global barriers caused by high infrastructure costs and bring the world the most advanced satellite and ground-networking technologies, eliminating the isolation caused by the digital divide. We are using the power of satellite technology to connect the unconnected.

From the Magnolia State of Mississippi and the Appalachian trails of West Virginia to the corners of northern Mexico and Brazil, we’re making a difference. We’re bringing affordable, high-speed satellite internet to the hardest-to-reach places.

With access to more spectrum, we can connect more Americans nationwide and people around the globe. Keep an eye on the Inside Viasat blog for stories about how we’re working to get more spectrum access to allow our satellite networks to reach their potential and how that translates into our ability to bring broadband service to more Americans and people around the world— community-by-community; state-by-state; country-by-country.