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Viasat Partners With Telstra for Viasat-3 Ground Network in Australia 

By Rachel Jewett | February 2, 2022

A rendering of the ViaSat-3 constellation. Photo: Viasat

Viasat is partnering with Australian telecommunications company Telstra to build and manage the ground infrastructure and fiber network for the ViaSat-3 satellite system targeting the Asia-Pacific region.

Under the 16.5-year contract announced Tuesday, Telstra will co-locate Viasat’s Earth stations, or satellite access nodes, at hundreds of its sites across Australia and will build and manage high-speed fiber links to each site. Viasat said the network will connect the sites to multiple redundant data centers that will house the core networking equipment needed to manage the data traffic.

The announcement did not include a distribution agreement, but David Burns of Telstra Enterprise said discussions are underway about how Telstra might use Viasat’s services. 

“[Telstra has] impressive skills, capabilities, scope, infrastructure, and also an extensive fiber network — all of which we need to dynamically operate our ground system across the region. To have Telstra as our partner significantly lowers the risk to our deployment of the ViaSat-3 network and ultimately our costs as compared to our alternatives,” Dave Ryan, Viasat’s president of Space & Commercial Networks said on a media call on Tuesday. “By pairing Telstra’s existing assets with our ViaSat-3 satellite, we can deliver advanced connectivity from mobility and government services, to connecting very hard to reach communities across all of the Asia-Pacific market.” 

The ViaSat-3 satellite system is Viasat’s new ultra-high-capacity terabit satellite constellation. The first satellite, due for launch this year, will focus on the Americas and the second satellite will focus on Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. 

Ryan said that the ground network architecture for the third Viasat-3 satellite will be the same as the initial two satellites. But the United States and Europe have fragmented marketplaces, with many fiber providers, and Viasat is working to put together networks in the United States and Europe. Viasat chose to partner with Telstra because it is the largest telecommunications company in the country and has fiber access in areas Viasat needed. 

“It’s one stop shopping as we work with Telstra. It dramatically lowers our risk going forward, being able to work with one partner over dozens and dozens,” Ryan said.