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HughesNet Keeps 2016 Yukon Quest Race Connected from the Arctic to the World


Fairbanks, AK and Germantown, MD—The judges, staff, volunteers and veterinarians who run the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog race will stay in touch with each other and the outside world over HughesNet high-speed satellite service from Hughes Network Systems, LLC (Hughes), the global leader in broadband satellite solutions and services.

HughesNet, the nation’s leading satellite Internet service with over one million active users, is the Official Communications Sponsor for the U.S. portion of the race. High-speed Internet access and voice (VoIP) service are essential to quickly and efficiently communicate weather updates, course warnings and other information to make the race safer. It also enables officials to update results on the website and steadily feed information to fans and media around the world.

“So much of executing the Yukon Quest hinges on being able to talk to each other up and down the trail,” said Marti Steury, Yukon Quest Executive Director – Alaska. “Months of preparation go into the race, but with so many people moving around at once, it’s impossible to anticipate everything that can happen. The high quality of HughesNet service enables our race staff to talk instantly and resolve situations quickly and accurately.”

With nationwide coverage, HughesNet brings the many benefits of high-speed Internet to people and businesses no matter where they live or work—even in ex-urban and rural areas with limited terrestrial broadband, such as Alaska. Hughes partner Will Johnson, owner of Alaska Satellite Internet, installs the satellite terminals on the U.S. half of the Yukon Quest trail. Johnson flies the systems to the six U.S. checkpoints—landing on roads when no landing strip is available—sets them up, and manages network operations throughout the race. 

The Yukon Quest officials responsible for major operations during the race—Marshal Doug Grilliot, Manager Alex Olesen, and Head Veterinarian Dr. Nina Hansen—rely on the satellite VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service to coordinate operations up and down the course. Telephone access between checkpoints enables them to speak directly to each other and their team members to keep the dogs, mushers, support crews and Yukon Quest staff safe as they cross the Arctic terrain.                                              

“We don’t have time for committee meetings. We have to decide and go. The Hughes HX system helps us knock hours off the decision-making process. That increases safety levels and our team’s productivity,” Grilliot said.

“The Yukon Quest is the ultimate challenge for our technology—a challenge we’ve met twice before and are looking forward to succeeding against again,” said Peter Gulla, senior vice president, marketing, Hughes North America. “Our satellite units have worked in extreme cold over vast distances in all kinds of weather to provide the Yukon Quest with voice and data service for managing the race and keeping the world up to date on each development in real time. We’re glad that we can help the race run as safely and smoothly as possible.”

The 33rd Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile International Sled Dog Race starts Feb. 6, 2016 in Fairbanks, Alaska and finishes in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. For up-to-date information and news about the race, visit