Mark_Dankberg.jpegMark Dankberg, Chairman, CEO, ViaSat
ViaSat and chairman and CEO Mark Dankberg’s four-year-long effort to send the company’s high-throughput, all Ka-band satellite ViaSat-1 into orbit came to a conclusion when it finally launched last year. This one event will impact the future of satellite as a whole for years to come.
Telesat will use the capacity of ViaSat-1 to support Canadian rural broadband provider Barrett Xplore’s delivery of future bandwidth-rich Internet applications. ViaSat-1 also will make a Ka-band impact on the in-flight market. ViaSat now will see its services adopted by several of its airline partners including JetBlue subsidiary LiveTV, which signed a letter of intent with Continental Airlines in March to provide ViaSat Ka-band airborne connectivity and Internet access. The agreement, finalized in April, included an order valued at more than $30 million for Ka-band airborne terminals and services to outfit the JetBlue fleet of more than 170 aircraft. With many airlines looking to ramp up their activity here, ViaSat could be well placed to secure a number of new airline partners in 2012 and beyond.
ViaSat-1 also has the potential to reach military markets. In November, ViaSat conducted a military demonstration to unveil its new mobile broadband system using an ultra-small aperture 12-inch Ka-band tracking antenna. The demonstration was attended by representatives from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marines and Special Forces communities that witnessed a variety of applications, including full-motion HD video running concurrently over a secure, encrypted mobile satellite network.
Financially, for the first nine months of 2011, Viasat derived revenues of over $634 million, an increase of more than $30 million compared to the same stage last year. Net profits remained roughly the same. New contract awards during the nine months were significantly higher than the same stage last year with Viasat gaining close to another $100 million in orders.Behind these efforts, Dankberg has effectively ensured that his company will fully leverage the benefits of its new offerings, while maintaining a balanced focus on the growth of his company’s existing contracts. In September, ViaSat was awarded a group of contracts from Boeing to develop a ground-based, beam-forming system for the Mexican Satellite System (Mexsat) totalling approximately $40 million. ViaSat also continues to receive Low Volume Terminal (MIDS-LVT) orders for the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) and BFT-2 terminal developments with the U.S. Army to build off its significant Blue Force Tracking victory last year.
Interestingly, in 2011, the company also expanded the coverage of its Yonder high-speed Internet service over Brazil and the surrounding region. The StarOne C1 satellite is providing the bandwidth and a ViaSat regional teleport was installed and commissioned in Rio de Janeiro.
It is the innovation of Dankberg, as well as strong overall performance that has anchored ViaSat’s financial stability in an unstable economy.