Satellite: A way to say good-bye to the digital divide

Today, America has too many people who are not able to enjoy all of the benefits of high-quality broadband internet because they are on the wrong side of the digital divide. However, modern, high-capacity satellites are playing a vital role to overcome this, and bridge the digital divide. High-capacity satellites offer affordable broadband solutions nationwide, with speeds equivalent to the best-served areas of the country at 25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up; these speeds meet the FCC’s broadband definition. But one interesting discovery made from our own customer base is this: It’s not just rural Americans thirsty for more competitive broadband options — so, too, are urban and suburban residents.

New broadband technology is on the way

With the impending launch of the ViaSat-2 satellite broadband service, and upcoming ViaSat-3 launch (our ultra high-capacity satellite), we believe that, with the right broadband policies, we will be an engine for creating new and better choices in broadband communications. We are focused on driving innovative new technologies that enable us to radically drive down the cost-per-bit of broadband internet. Today, our service is a competitive option for millions of Americans. And with pragmatic policies that maintain a technologically level playing field, ensuring satellite’s continued access to spectrum resources, and removing regulatory barriers that limit broadband investments, we can continue to provide consumers with more service value for their dollar.

Understanding the digital connectivity continuum

We believe policymakers should be focused on how, as a nation, we can provide consumers, students, businesses, and our warfighters with a digital connectivity continuum that enables them to connect to high-speed broadband wherever they are —whether they live in a rural and remote region, are on a plane, on a boat, at school or doing homework in the evening, or whether they are a warfighter on the battlefield in harm’s way.

To help ensure we can extend the benefits of high-speed broadband to the places where America needs it most, we need to understand the vital role that satellite broadband plays in doing things that terrestrial wireless technologies simply cannot achieve – like connecting cars beyond terrestrial network coverage or when wireless networks are down or not available. Satellite is also providing high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi, ensuring seamless maritime communications, closing the homework gap where broadband is non-existent or expensive, and protecting our warfighters by enabling them to have enhanced situational awareness in the fog of war.

Because of the ubiquitous nature of satellite broadband, when policymakers enable satellite opportunities domestically, they are extending those opportunities around the globe. That ranges from providing air travelers with global broadband coverage; to enabling  embassies with secure communication; to providing astronauts in space with the ability to stream video; or protecting our warfighters on land, at sea or in the air. In order to meet these growing broadband demands, however, satellite services need access to the vital spectrum that fuels these technologies.

We intend for satellite broadband to remain a ferocious competitor in the broadband market. That is why we are inventing, designing and building cutting-edge technologies that give consumers the most capable satellite broadband solutions available today. To meet growing consumer demand for broadband, we need continued access to spectrum. When we have predictable access to the spectrum pipeline, we can continue to expand the speed and quality of satellite broadband to Americans, anywhere — and once and for all say good-bye to our nation’s digital divide.

 

 

Paul Konopka
About Paul Konopka 3 Articles
Paul Konopka brings a legal eye and a profound interest on regulatory issues to the Inside ViaSat blog. As ViaSat’s Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Space, Paul supports the intersection for where legal, government affairs and engineering all come together.