US Broadband Internet Satellite Scheduled for Launch in 2011

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A California satellite technology provider has signed a deal to put a planned broadband Internet satellite into orbit above the U.S. in the first half of 2011.

The ViaSat-1 satellite will be launched on board an Arianespace rocket from the European space port in Kourou, French Guiana, according to the terms of the deal that was announced on Thursday.

The satellite will an overall throughput of 100G bps (bits per second) and that should enable it to support 2M bps service to about 2 million subscribers when operational.

It is expected to be the highest capacity satellite in the world at time of launch, and that should mean the price of transmitting each bit of data is about a tenth that of current services. In turn this should enable broadband Internet services at much lower prices than now, according to the company.

While ViaSat will own the satellite it intends on relying on other companies to offer the Internet service.

ViaSat is a California-based company that specializes in satellite communications systems with an emphasis on military, security and corporate applications. It already leases space on commercial satellites to operate a mobile broadband networks for both fixed locations and those that move like ships and aircraft.

The ViaSat plans are running in parallel with an effort by Eutelsat in Europe to launch a high capacity broadband satellite there in 2010.

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