Q: Looking back on 2015, how would you characterize the year for Hughes Network Systems?
I would call 2015 a year of 360-degree success because of strides we made on three fronts: business, technology and corporate social responsibility.
On the business side, we saw continuing global demand for our JUPITER™ System with significant new sales in India, Russia, Turkey, Malaysia, Mexico, the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia. We surpassed five million satellite terminals shipped cumulatively to customers in more than 100 countries, representing close to 50 percent global market share in the satellite networking industry. HughesNet remains the world’s largest satellite Internet service – now with over 1 million subscribers in North America – and Hughes Communications was again ranked #1 in the Indian VSAT market. We’re also excited about our major technology and marketing partnership with OneWeb, a ground-breaking initiative to close the digital divide with a global constellation of LEO satellites. Hughes will play a particularly important role by developing the ground system, including gateways and terminals, and also employing the OneWeb network to deliver services to our global base of customers and distribution partners.
On the technology front, we released several new JUPITER-based products, including a high-throughput enterprise router to smooth the migration from C- and Ku-band to future HTS satellite services. New performance-enhancing features were introduced for both HughesON enterprise solutions and HughesNet Gen4 consumer service that help our customers get the maximum value from their bandwidth. In addition, we launched the first portable BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) terminal for Inmarsat’s mobile satellite applications.
Some of the most rewarding work we’ve done this year is through our partnership between the National 4-H Council and HughesNet, which introduces youth to STEM applications (science, engineering, technology and math) via hands-on learning and competitions – and hopefully gets them interested to pursue future technology careers.
Q:How is Hughes business in the Asia Pacific Region?
Hughes won significant new business in the Asia Pacific region in 2015 and expanded in areas where we are already established.
Our Hughes India subsidiary continued its healthy growth, reporting a 12 month market share at 59% for FY 2014-15, with banking and rural installations as the key drivers along with delivering high-value broadband applications such as e-learning, digital cinema, and e-governance across the country’s many towns and rural areas. In particular for e-learning, we’ve been working with various professional educational institutions to expand online training through the satellite-based Hughes Interactive Onsite Learning Platform. This novel solution enables online, live interaction among instructors in urban centers and professionals in towns across the country as though they were in the same room together – and not requiring the students to take leave from their daily work. Its important social and economic value was why Hughes was chosen for the “Changing Lives” award at this year’s VSAT Global Satellite Industry Conference in London – which cited that in medical tutoring alone, over 25,000 students have been reached in 50 towns and cities. Other professional schools, namely the India Institute of Management Calcutta, the Indian Institute of Management, and the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, have also adopted the same platform to deliver courses in leadership, management and international business.
In Malaysia, two of the country’s largest satellite communications service companies purchased Hughes solutions in 2015: TS Global Network Sdn Bhd, chose the JUPITER system for a major technology upgrade of its C-band satellite network, and IPSAT Sdn Bhd, purchased a Hughes HX broadband satellite system comprising a hub and remote terminals.
We’re optimistic that the Asia Pacific region will continue to be a source of growth for Hughes well into the future.
Q:From a technical standpoint, what were some key milestones reached in 2015?
We made numerous technology improvements this year targeted to both service providers and end users, enterprises and consumers alike.
At the provider level, our high-throughput HT1300 router gives operators the flexibility to use the JUPITER System over conventional C-band and Ku-band satellite capacity as well as Ka-band capacity, providing a seamless migration path to next-generation HTS services. It was designed specifically to meet the growing demand from enterprise customers for high-performance networks.
Airborne broadband service is a rapidly growing business and our successful relationship with Global Eagle (formerly Row44) in supplying their high-speed WiFi solution and satellite connectivity will now be further enhanced by the addition of aeronautical support on our JUPITER System platform.
For Inmarsat’s global network, introduction of our Hughes 9211-HDR portable BGAN terminal is a first-of-itskind product that supports communications-on-the-move applications by docking to active tracking antennas mounted on vehicles. It can connect at background IP speeds of up to 400+ kbps in both transmit and receive, while being used as a portable or on-the-move application.
At the consumer level, we updated our HughesNet® Gen4 service plans with a new generation of performance-enhancing innovations in downloading, browsing and data usage management. They’re called Hughes SmartTechnologies™, and they let customers do more of what they want online without interruptions or running over their monthly data allowances. SmartTechnologies dramatically improve data compression, website loading, and media download speeds.
Q:What will 2016 bring for Hughes?
2016 will be another exciting year for Hughes. In the first half, we are planning to launch highspeed satellite Internet service for consumers and small businesses in Brazil. Late in the year, we anticipate the launch of Echostar 19/JUPITER 2, a next generation Ka-band HTS satellite with over 150 Gbps capacity that will continue to power our HughesNet high-speed satellite Internet service in North America.
And throughout the year you can count on hearing about new developments in all of our enterprise, government and consumer platforms and services – because that’s what Hughes is all about: Innovations in broadband technology, systems and solutions that keep us in front and move the industry forward.
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