|Brisk Business in Brazil
Fast growth accompanies youth—a truism that certainly applies to Hughes Network Systems Americas (HNSA), the newest operating entity owned by Hughes. Headquartered in São Paulo, the economic center of Brazil—which is the fifth largest and fifth most populous country in the world—HNSA has been growing at double-digit rates annually since it was launched in 2003. Here’s a snapshot of the key markets we serve and the drivers for broadband services that are fueling our growth in Brazil and throughout the region.
The Enterprise Market
As it has done worldwide, Hughes has built its leadership in broadband satellite networks and services in Brazil on the enterprise market. Retail, banking, oil and gas, automotive, and utility companies are all enjoying the benefits of our powerful suite of continentwide HughesNet® broadband services—from high-speed Internet and intranet VPN access, to distance learning, credit card payments, and terrestrial network backup.
In the retail market, for example, Rede Smart, one of the country’s largest grocery store chains, is connecting over 500 stores via HughesNet broadband satellite service, enabling rapid processing of online debit and credit card transactions. This initiative provides a unified telecommunications network for all Rede Smart stores regardless of size. The solution will eventually connect more than 1,200 stores throughout Brazil, delivering value-added applications such as distance learning for store employees, live video distribution, and back-office systems.
Another example is the banking sector, which relies on high security and availability. In the largest satellite backup project in Brazil, Telefonica and Hughes are providing Banco Itau, the country’s second largest bank, with backup broadband service via 1,000 satellite terminals. There is also considerable opportunity in providing bank card services to retailers who depend on a primary terrestrial network but need increased availability. If they are unable to connect their branches, business comes to a standstill. But with HughesNet backup services, these businesses stay connected even when landline networks fail.
In neighboring countries, we are providing HughesNet broadband satellite services to Exxon sites in Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru from one of our two NOCs in Brazil. And we are supporting government through initiatives such as providing HughesNet services to 1,000 sites for Copel Electric Company, which is owned and operated by the state of Parana.
Serving Telecom Operators
Another key market for HNSA is delivering turnkey broadband solutions to large telecom operators such as Telefonica and Oi, which resell HughesNet broadband satellite services throughout Brazil under their own brands. HNSA furnishes these operators with comprehensive solutions including central NOC services, satellite bandwidth, and remote broadband terminals, as well as installation, maintenance, and support.
We have also contracted with Intelsat, the world’s leading operator of commercial satellites to jointly deliver a managed cellular backhaul solution, enabling cellular service providers to cost-effectively extend cellular networks to rural and sparsely populated regions.
Education that Goes the Distance
Because many of Brazil’s citizens live in remote areas with limited educational opportunities, distance learning has become a significant and fast-growing market. To reach these rural students, several schools and universities have contracted with HNSA to deliver interactive, educational programming via our HughesNet service. These programs provide instant interactivity between teachers and students, independent of distance.
For example, in a major distance learning initiative, the Amazonas Board of Education is using HughesNet to improve the quality of education for 10,000 students in rural communities that do not have middle schools or whose schools lack sufficient space. This project, which began in 2007, has now grown to include simultaneous classes in 500 locations.
At the same time, more and more businesses are realizing the importance of a strong, well-trained workforce. In an innovative initiative called Hughes.Edu, we are partnering with top MBA educational institutions to provide training to corporate workforces via our HughesNet broadband satellite service.
A New NOC for the New Year
Finally, I am delighted to report that HNSA continues to show strong profitability and healthy growth despite the global economic downturn. Indeed, we have just expanded our Ku-band capacity to serve the growing market demand for HughesNet broadband services, and we expect to have a third NOC up and running and ready to support customers in January 2009. Now that’s the way to start a new year.