There’s nothing else like it in orbit. At 10 Gbps throughput, SPACEWAY® 3 is the world’s highest traffic-carrying, commercial broadband satellite system and the first to employ onboard switching and routing. Eight months after celebrating its launch, Hughes initiated commercial service on SPACEWAY 3 over North America in April 2008, which transformed the company overnight into a fully integrated satellite service provider.
With numerous other advances, such as a phased array antenna and multi-hopping spot beams with frequency reuse, SPACEWAY 3 represents a significant step forward in satellite technology. HughesNet services now feature satellite Internet access plans up to 5 Mbps—the highest speed available. Bandwidth-on-demand and deployment of any combination of star and mesh private network topologies bring unprecedented capabilities to the marketplace.
Just one year after the service launch, more than 128,000 consumer, business, and government customers are receiving HughesNet® broadband services over SPACEWAY 3, some of which are critically important in crisis communications. For example, America’s Emergency Network, a satellite-based emergency communications service in Florida powered by HughesNet, employs SPACEWAY 3’s on-demand capability and has been keeping residents informed since the onset of the 2008 hurricane season by streaming real-time news briefings from state and local operations centers. (See related story in Channels, Winter 2008).
The first SPACEWAY 3 broadband operator in Canada, Barrett Xplore Inc. of New Brunswick, is operating a gateway earth station and offering broadband satellite services to the Canadian market under its Xplornet brand.
And yet another milestone—Hughes recently launched its Inter-Government Crisis Network (IGCN), a unique satellite-based solution delivered over SPACEWAY 3 that enables government agencies to communicate securely and reliably in preparing for and responding to an emergency, when terrestrial networks are most vulnerable to failure.
During its almost 10 years of development, SPACEWAY 3 offered a promise for the future—the promise of advanced technology, dramatically higher broadband speeds, and the replacement of a ground-based hub with a “switch-in-the-sky” that enables communications directly between terminals in a single hop. As evidenced every day by consumer, enterprise, and government customers throughout North America, that promise has indeed been realized.