Viasat receives Better Satellite World Award

Recognition honors satellite companies helping improve the world

From left, Viasat executives Jason Robbins, Peter Langkilde, Evan Dixon, Chris Hunter and Marc Agnew pose with the Better Satellite World award in London on Dec. 5.

Space & Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) recently honored Viasat for helping to improve the world as part of its 8th annual Better Satellite World Awards.

The awards honor companies and innovators that help make the world more prosperous, healthy, better-educated, sustainable, and inclusive. Viasat was recognized for its role in helping Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia access the internet by deploying its satellite connectivity across various sites – at no cost to the refugees.

An international jury chose this year’s three recipients, which also included water testing service ASTERRA for its underground potable water leak detection technology, and data and analytics company Spire Global’s use of weather and data to predict and mitigate environmental disasters.

All three companies were honored at the Dec. 5 Better Satellite World Awards dinner in London.

In early 2022, Viasat partnered with the Košice region of Slovakia, which identified areas in the country where Ukrainian refugees were taking shelter and had the greatest need for connectivity. Within days of learning about the refugee sites, Viasat installed its Community Wi-Fi systems at each of them, giving thousands of refugees critical and free access to the internet. Those free access points are still in use today.

Since the war began, there have been almost 570,000 border crossings from Ukraine into Slovakia. About 80,000 refugees who left Ukraine are living in Slovakia under temporary protection, having left other family members and friends in their home country. Many are women, children, and the elderly who are using Viasat’s internet service to stay connected to friends and family, as well as stay up to date on the latest in the Ukraine crisis.

Viasat’s President of Global Fixed Broadband Evan Dixon attended the Dec. 5 dinner. In accepting the award, he thanked the SSPI and its members.

“Tonight is special because as an industry we pause to recognize work that makes a difference, contributing to the global economy, society, and sustainability,” Dixon said.

He also explained further how Viasat’s service in Slovakia has helped those in need.

“Providing free, high-speed internet to refugees meant a short message could reunite a family, even if geographically distant,” Dixon said. “A quick WhatsApp message of ‘I’m ok’ or ‘I heard from your brother, he’s ok too,’ offered moments of hope. Just a few packets of data offered reassurance that loved ones were still safe or where to meet to reunite.

“Viasat continues to collaborate with local partners and works hard to provide connectivity for Ukrainian refugees, wherever it is needed most.”

Dixon said the refugee crisis is one small example of where satellite technology can help.

“The satellite industry is uniquely positioned to contribute to the common good, and there’s more work to do,” he said. “From bringing connectivity to places that remain unconnected today, to enabling people, businesses, and communities to benefit from connectivity, and of course, to help those in need when it is needed most.”

The SSPI international jury that selected this year’s recipients included a cross-section of space and satellite industry thought leaders and distinguished professionals.

“Each year we watch with awe as the commercial space and satellite community continues to play a greater role in addressing the major challenges of the human community in more significant ways,” said SSPI’s Director of Innovation and Host of The Better Satellite World podcast Louis Zacharilla.

The nonprofit SSPI is an international network of space and satellite related companies and individuals. Founded in 1983, its goal is to help the space and satellite industry attract and engage talent to power innovation.