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ViaSat marks 100,000hr Ku-band milestone

23rd October 2008 - 01:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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VIASAT continues to assert its credentials as a passenger broadband service provider, announcing that the Ku-band network it supports for ARINC SKYLink recently topped 100,000 operational flight hours.

The Californian-based company supplies satellite communications systems and services to a wide variety of civil and government markets. It first came to the attention of the civil aviation community as the supplier of airborne equipment and satellite networking services for SKYLink, ARINC’s broadband offering to business-jet operators. But in the last few months it has declared an ambition to become a global service provider in its own right to both business aviation and air transport.   

ViaSat’s proprietary ArcLight hub-and-spoke network technology has been supporting SKYLink since early 2005. In that time the 80 equipped aircraft, most of them long-range Gulfstreams, have together logged more than 100,000 hours online, according to ViaSat.

On the aircraft a 12in-diameter mechanically steered antenna works with leased Ku-band satellite capacity to support advertised speeds to the aircraft of up to 10Mbit/sec and 512kbit/sec in the opposite direction, on the ground, during taxiing and in flight.

ViaSat recently announced plans to expand its network to provide worldwide coverage by the end of next year. North Pacific coverage is due to be introduced by the end of this year, with Japan and South-east Asia to follow soon afterwards. “Once our expansion is complete, aircraft, ships and land vehicles will be able to move from one region to another, around the globe, without service interruption,” says ViaSat Mobile Broadband Systems director Don Buchman.

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