ViaSat is once again promising consumers that they'll see faster speeds and more reasonable usage caps with the launch of the company's upcoming ViaSat-2 satellite. ViaSat-2 is expected to launch in March/early April (which probably means this summer) from French Guiana on an Ariane 5 rocket. After that, the company is busy promising that the beefed up capacity (ViaSat-2 should provide up to 300 Gbps) will notably help ease congestion, and, hopeful, lower the impact on satellite broadband subscriber wallets.
ViaSat-1, which launched in 2011, is currently at capacity with around 700,000 broadband customers.
That satellite also powers WiFi service on more than 500 commercial aircraft from JetBlue, American Airlines, United Airlines and Virgin America -- as well as capacity for Air Force One and other government aircraft (which obviously get priority over your connection).
Satellite broadband has long been the red-headed step-child of the telecom industry; in large part because the sector's captive users have no other option but to pay an arm and a leg for what's often substandard service and tight usage allotments. And while the value and speed of service delivered via brands like Exede and WildBlue have improved in recent years, reviews for those services remain among the least favorable of all the ISPs we track.
"We are not perfect but we are markedly better than (satellite Internet) used to be," promises ViaSat CEO Mark Dankberg. "With ViaSat-2, we will be a lot better than ViaSat-1."
The better we can make our service, the bigger our market, he added. But that doesn t mean we are going after people who have Google Fiber. What we are trying to do is go after a bigger segment of people who don t have those speeds.
Once ViaSat-2 is launched, ViaSat will focus more intently on launching ViaSat-3 -- a three satellite constellation scheduled to launch in 2019. Once in orbit, ViaSat says that ViaSat 3 will have 1 terabit-per-second maximum capacity, triple that of ViaSat 2 -- and around twice the combined capacity of the 400 communications satellites currently in orbit today.
Satellite broadband customers: give us an update on the state of your connection in the comment section below. Are you currently happy with your connection?