An August 1997 article in the Washington Post discussed Hughes entry into markets where no one has gone before, bringing high-speed internet access to the home. They called it “the biggest gambit to date for Hughes Network Systems,” and noted some uncertainty about the demand for such a service…and how much people are actually going to use high-speed internet links at home.
That was in 1997. Twenty-five years later, on September 14th at World Satellite Business Week, Hughes received the Quarter Century of Excellence Award from GVF, the global non-profit association that represents the satellite industry ecosystem. The first-of-its-kind award acknowledges Hughes as the company whose advances have had the greatest beneficial impact on society, the telecommunications industry and the company’s own profitability.
Clearly, that gambit paid off. In fact, it’s difficult to imagine daily life without access to the internet. Today, we connect millions of people across the Americas with our HughesNet® satellite internet – rated as the number-one rural internet service by US News & World Report. Our innovative technologies connect millions more to the internet around the world – from Indonesia to Algeria and from Siberia to South Africa. And our JUPITER System equipment powers connectivity at more than 50,000 rural schools.
Of course, it's not just internet at home. Hughes manages more than half a million enterprise network sites – including 50,000 managed SD-WAN sites – for customers like retail petroleum chains, grocery and big box retailers, fast casual restaurants, banks and lottery systems.
Those are just a few notable achievements. But it all started with the commercialization of the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) that makes satellite broadband possible. When Hughes started to manufacture VSATs in the mid-1980s, our first enterprise customer was Walmart. Sam Walton’s choice to deploy new satellite technology from Hughes to connect his stores was noted in 2005 by Fortune Magazine as one of the top 20 strategically important business decisions of the 20th century. That one sale ignited the multi-billion-dollar global satellite networks business.
Hughes has been pioneering innovation in the satellite industry for more than 50 years – and we’re just getting started. The upcoming JUPITER 3 ultra-high-density satellite, slated to launch in 2023 is the latest of our game-changing industry advancements, including the development of the JUPITER System ground platform, the de facto standard for satellite broadband implementations worldwide; low Earth orbit (LEO) ground system engineering for OneWeb; 5G network backhaul and integration and many others.
It’s not a stretch to venture a guess that you’re reading this article online – just think what that might have looked like in 1997. It’s remarkable to look back over the last 25 years and recognize the full impact of our innovations since then, much less over the course of our full 50+ years.
We are honored to receive this distinguished award from GVF. It’s not just a testament to how much Hughes has contributed over the past 25 years, but a celebration of the kind of ecosystem collaboration that epitomizes the work that we do with our colleagues and customers around the world.