ViaSat -1, North America’s first 4G broadband satellite, was successfully placed into orbit today on an ILS Proton M rocket. With a capacity in excess of 140 Gbps, the satellite has more bandwidth capability than all the current satellites over North America combined and is considered to be a ‘game-changer’ for providing broadband coverage to rural areas at reduced cost.
ViaSat-1 was launched at 14:48 EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. The satellite will reach geosynchronous orbit some 9 hours, 12 minutes after liftoff. A failure of a similar Proton M launch in August delayed this launch, originally set for September. After an investigation, the problem was determined to be with the software of the Briz-M upper stage. Once corrected, the Proton M was cleared for launch.
When placed in geosynchronous orbit, ViaSat-1 will allow Canada’s Xplornet Communications Inc. to provide 4G speeds to rural parts of the country – similar to the service provided in urban centres. Users will pay a monthly fee and receive downloads up to 25 Mbps on a small satellite receiver. The satellite transmits in the Ka spectrum, delivering more than ten times the speed and capacity of current systems at a much lower cost per customer. Based in Woodstock, New Brunswick, Xplornet Communications Inc. has purchased 100% of the Canadian Ka-band capacity on the satellite. Xplornet is buying the satellite capacity through Telesat Canada, which is partially owned by the satellite’s manufacturer, Space Systems/Loral.