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As the only broadband connectivity option available everywhere across the U.S., satellite technology today is a key, integrated component of the country’s telecom infrastructure. Over one million subscribers enjoy the benefits of high-speed satellite Internet access, representing a rapidly growing percentage of the estimated 10 to 15 million households either unserved or underserved by terrestrial broadband technologies. And that’s in addition to the several hundreds of thousands of large and small enterprise and government agency sites connected by satellite networks.
But in times of disaster, satellite takes on an even more critical role. It presents the only true alternate communications path when terrestrial wireline and wireless networks are most vulnerable to disruption and outages—and it can be deployed immediately after disaster strikes to support life-saving emergency response and recovery activities.
In October 2012, when Superstorm Sandy pummeled the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, many thousands went without power for weeks. And while flooding and power outages had knocked out base stations, towers, and switching centers of terrestrial providers, satellite networks withstood the disaster with limited or no service disruption. Hughes heeded the call to action in Sandy’s aftermath and supported extensive relief efforts across the region.
The Rockaway Peninsula of Queens, New York was especially hard hit during the storm and left with little or no communications for its population of more than 175,000. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) quickly opened Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) in the region impacted by the storm, including in Rockaway, to provide information about services such as housing, rental assistance, and referrals to other agencies. But with terrestrial lines down, volunteers and disaster victims were unable to make calls or apply for services online. Hughes joined the recovery battle and provided 20 of the DRCs with terminals and high-speed satellite connectivity, including voice over IP, to help people obtain needed services.
Meanwhile, in the Breezy Point area of New York, more than 100 homes were decimated by a six-alarm fire during the storm. The difficult conditions were complicated by the fact that no terrestrial communications were available at the command center set up by Habitat for Humanity of Westchester, New York to help coordinate the rebuilding efforts. Responding to a request from the Global VSAT Forum, Hughes, along with Cisco, provided key communications capabilities, including broadband services, to assist in the recovery effort.
“The combined assistance from the Global VSAT Forum, Hughes, and Cisco was invaluable,” said Jim Killoran, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Westchester. “This support was critical to our success in helping to alleviate suffering and get families closer to being in their homes.”
As part of its normal satellite service delivery, Hughes continuously monitors customer sites across the region, which includes thousands of gas stations, restaurants, pharmacies, and hotels. Through this site monitoring, Hughes was able to provide a valuable service to the All Hazards Consortium (AHC)—identifying which businesses had power, along with other site-related data—and quickly disseminating up-to-date information to first responders, officials, and key emergency operations centers. (See related story “In the Aftermath of Superstorm Sandy” in Channels Winter 2012.)
“Satellite technology has again demonstrated its resilience in the face of a disaster,” said Tony Bardo, assistant vice president of Government Solutions at Hughes, “We’re honored to be playing an important part in supporting these efforts to help families rebuild their lives.”
There is no predicting the next disaster. But no matter when or where it may occur, advance planning and preparation is essential to save lives. And as proven in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, that calls for deploying the robust power of satellite technology to support critical relief and recovery efforts.
At Hughes, a satisfied customer is always the first goal. That’s why the company is constantly adding to and improving its capability to provide new and improved product and service offerings. As part of its program of excellence for customer satisfaction, Hughes adheres to a comprehensive set of standards, certifications, and industry guidelines to assure the highest quality throughout the entire lifecycle of a Hughes product or service.
For example, Hughes assures overall quality management and process performance across all functional areas by adhering to the ISO 9001:2008 quality management system standard, developed by the International Organization for Standardization. The company meets U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations, which protect the communications infrastructure across all technologies, as well as complying with similar standards from regulatory agencies around the world. Hughes has developed optimized data transport standards, such as the Internet Protocol over Satellite (IPoS) standard to promote improved performance of global broadband satellite technology by using an industry-standard open interface based on IP-centric technology. The company also complies with standards such as the Payment Card Industry/Data Security Standard (PCI/DSS), which ensures that rigorous security levels are in place to protect sensitive consumer financial information.
Hughes also voluntarily goes beyond mandatory standards by qualifying for additional industry certifications that help lead directly to a happier customer and an improved customer experience. For example, the company is certified as a Cisco Cloud and Managed Services Master Partner, which provides customers with the assurance that Hughes has the service quality capabilities to deliver cloud and managed services employing Cisco technology. The company also adheres to technology standards such as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework. ITIL is a set of best practices for IT service management that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of the business, as well as using IT as a tool to facilitate business improvements and growth.
Certification to all of these standards requires Hughes to participate in either an independent audit or a formal review from an accredited organization as performed by certified industry experts. The rigor of the evaluation process demonstrates to customers that Hughes has the processes, tools, and training in place to meet industry standards and best practices.
In the telecommunications industry, the technology, customers, products, and services are always changing. Even though standards are somewhat static, the company must be agile enough to adapt to what the customer needs today, while still meeting the formalized requirements for standardization. To accomplish this, Hughes leverages the quality management practices that are called out in the ISO 9001:2008 standard to both company and customer advantage, by going beyond simple compliance, and applying these practices to create a better customer experience.
“Not all service providers go to these lengths,” said Bob Stedman, assistant vice president of Service Quality. “We take a number of extra steps on behalf of our customers to develop the capabilities to ensure that we’re consistently delivering a high-quality service experience. For instance, the use of the ISO standards and the ITIL service framework isn’t required by our customers, but the adoption of these standards gives Hughes access to a collective embodiment of knowledge and best practices that directly benefit our customers.”
The Hughes company philosophy is to integrate everyone from the Hughes family into the value chain, blending all functional areas, including engineering, marketing, manufacturing, operations, and customer care into the quality of every Hughes product and service. The company measures its effectiveness in driving customer satisfaction with regularly scheduled self-assessments, customer surveys, and audits. Hughes Quality Assurance takes the feedback from these and other sources, checks for patterns and trends, and sets up working teams to better align what the company does with customer expectations.
The teams constantly ask themselves, “How do we add value to our services and improve the customer experience?” Hughes believes that going the extra mile on the customer’s behalf is an important key to a satisfied customer. By refining its approach on an ongoing basis, Hughes can continually integrate customer expectations, customer service, and product and service quality with all the support activities put in place throughout the company to create the best customer experience possible.
In today’s tough economy, organizations are constantly looking for ways to gain competitive or operational advantage by delivering compelling new services, enhancing the customer or constituent experience, training and retaining good employees, and maximizing overall network performance and efficiency. Though new technologies and applications offer great promise in helping achieve these goals, the significant investment required to keep pace with them in a sustained and cost-effective way presents challenges for any organization, taxing already constrained IT staff and budgets, no matter the size.
Welcome to HughesON Managed Network Services. Building on the Hughes heritage of innovation and leadership in broadband technology and services, HughesON is a comprehensive set of managed network services, ranging from high-capacity access and high-availability solutions, to digital signage and training solutions— optimized for the unique needs of enterprise and government organizations.
HughesON managed network services employ new Hughes technologies that transform “best-efforts” broadband into true enterprise-class WANs. Hughes ActiveQoS™, ActiveBonding™, and ActiveCompression™ (see box) are core ingredients that enable cost-effective data, voice, and video convergence with high application performance. Incorporating sophisticated edge intelligence and backed by enterprise-grade Service Level Agreements (SLAs), HughesON Network Solutions™ deliver MPLS-like performance over broadband VPNs at significant savings. For high-impact messaging, HughesON Digital Media Solutions™ arm organizations to stand out from today’s noise, enabling the most compelling communications with customers, constituents, and employees.
By converging all network elements—transport, devices, and applications as part of a comprehensive service architecture—HughesON solutions deliver better performance, higher reliability, and assured security. Ideal for distributed enterprises, such as retail, restaurant, oil/gas, hospitality and financial services, as well as distributed government agencies, HughesON managed network services power organizations to better serve their customers and constituents, engage their employees, and streamline their operations.
Real-time applications such as VoIP and point-of-sale require priority handling on the network. Hughes Performance Optimization™ employs Hughes ActiveQoS technology to connect all locations with end-to-end application prioritization, guaranteeing that critical apps get through—even in the presence of lower-priority data competing for bandwidth. This method of adding end-to-end QoS (Quality of Service) over affordable broadband networks, such as DSL and cable, is far more economical than an MPLS network with T1 or Ethernet access.
Keeping up with the latest security threats and compliance requirements can be overwhelming and expensive. HughesON Managed Security™ provides best-in-class security for the unique needs of distributed organizations, including next-generation firewall capabilities, such as data leak prevention, vulnerability scanning, and intrusion prevention. The recently introduced Hughes HR4000 Series of Branch Gateways combines industry-leading security capabilities from Fortinet with Performance Optimization technology, designed with the needs of the multi-branch network in mind. With this single, easy-to-deploy, managed platform, Hughes has combined security, routing, and performance optimization—saving enterprises the expense and complexity of deploying individual devices. Now that’s delivering applications smarter.
Neither enterprises nor government agencies can afford network downtime. Hughes offers a cost-effective method of adding a truly diverse, high-speed backup solution using any combination of DSL, 3G/4G wireless, and broadband satellite. Available nationwide, Hughes High-Availability Networking™ employs alternate path links to ensure maximum network resilience, even when disaster strikes. Back-up links can also double as part of a load-balancing configuration in which multiple applications are sent via different links to improve overall performance.
Dynamic, high-impact digital media and video are the most effective means for organizations to easily and creatively stay connected with their customers, constituents, and employees. HughesON MediaSignage™ provides customer- and constituent-facing signage solutions, including interactive touchscreens, which inform, engage, and encourage action. HughesON MediaTraining™ provides rich-media training solutions delivered to employees in break rooms and conference rooms, or on mobile devices such as an iPad, thereby improving workforce know-how, morale, and productivity. And HughesON MediaTV™ offers customer/constituent and employee-facing signage solutions that incorporate live broadcast TV, or infotainment. HughesON Digital Media Solutions offer a complete organization-wide solution to manage, schedule, and deploy digital media, ensuring that organizations get the right message out to the right people at the right time.
HughesON is new, but carries with it the Hughes heritage of over 25 years of experience building and managing large-scale distributed networks for business and government. Plus, an unbeatable combination of talented people, worldwide network operations centers, and broadband technology and business leadership: That’s why the HughesON suite of managed network services is the right choice to power enterprise and government networks to new heights—faster, smarter, more reliably, with greater impact, and cost-effectively. For more information visit HughesON.com.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s RadNet system monitors radiation levels of air, drinking water, pasteurized milk, and precipitation across the U.S. During 2013, the EPA will upgrade its existing network with the addition of Hughes satellite broadband technology. The Hughes solution includes its HN9000 broadband satellite terminal and a dedicated Access Gateway, supporting expansion and potential conversion into a private network. Under the order, Hughes will provide 50 sites with 12 months of satellite broadband service.
HughesNet Service Supports Repairs at Washington Monument In August 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake 84 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. damaged the Washington Monument, the city’s most prominent structure and a popular tourist destination.
Work is now in progress to repair the damaged marble panels near the peak of the 555-foot tall marble obelisk, which honors founding father George Washington. With HughesNet® high-speed Internet service at one of the construction trailers, surely the repairs will go faster, hastening the reopening of this treasured monument for locals and visitors alike!
Distributed enterprises can now consolidate their nationwide voice and data requirements under a single managed services provider—with Hughes Enterprise VoIP. A full-featured, fully managed voice solution, Hughes Enterprise VoIP was named a 2012 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year by TMC, a global, integrated media company.
The solution provides business-grade telephony over broadband terrestrial networks (DSL and cable), enabling enterprises to enjoy consistent high-quality voice over cost-effective broadband. Hughes Enterprise VoIP employs Hughes ActiveQoS™ technology to ensure proper treatment of voice packets on an end-to-end basis. This patent-pending technology monitors the network capacity in real-time and applies dynamic rate limiting and prioritization to control packet loss and jitter, resulting in high-quality voice calls for distributed enterprises.
What do a one-man, non-profit organization in Georgia, a home-schooled family in Louisiana bayou country, and a comptroller in Arkansas farmland have in common? Despite the many differences in their pursuits and situations, they all live in picturesque locations that are beyond the reach of high-speed terrestrial Internet service.
These families are not alone. There are an estimated 10 million to 15 million households and small businesses in the U.S. that are unserved or underserved by land-based broadband services. And today, when dependable, high-performance Internet access is considered a necessity by most people, some don’t think they have any broadband options at all.
In fact, they do. Thanks to Hughes satellite technology, HughesNet® high-speed Internet service is available throughout the country. With over 659,000 subscribers at year-end 2012, HughesNet is the world’s #1 high-speed satellite Internet service—reaching consumers and small businesses in North America no matter where they live or work. All they need is a clear view of the southern sky. And now HughesNet Gen4 is delivering dramatically greater speeds and enabling customers to do more online than ever before.
HughesNet Gen4 is the latest-generation Hughes satellite Internet offering, providing customers the performance required to support today’s high-bandwidth applications. With download speeds from 10 Mbps up to 15 Mbps and download allowances of up to 40 Gigabytes per month, HughesNet Gen4 delivers a robust Internet service no matter how it’s used—for work, school, social media, video clips, music, or just keeping connected with friends, family, and colleagues. Let’s take a look at some of the people who are enjoying the benefits of HughesNet Gen4.
Blake Paul is a comptroller for the Assemblies of God Church, as well as owner of an independent management and accounting consultancy, which he runs from his home in an Arkansas farming community. His wife is a teacher who needs Internet access for research and developing lesson plans. The couple’s 15-year-old son uses the Internet for writing papers and other classwork. HughesNet Gen4 enables the Pauls to stay connected for both business and personal use—everything from communicating with clients, to shopping online, to viewing services from a church in California, to taking online classes.
Meanwhile, in Elmer, Louisiana, surrounded by wildlife preserves, Nathan and Cindy Babb run two businesses—a truck brokerage and a satellite service company—and educate their three children from their home. The high performance of HughesNet Gen4 enables the Babbs to conduct business and educate their children all at the same time—with no logjams.
“The speeds are awesome,” said Nathan Babb. “My wife can be on the computer or the VPN or working with all three kids remotely. We’ve never had a problem with the bandwidth; no one has ever yelled ‘turn that off!’ because the Internet slowed down.”
And on any given day, as many as 150 people rely on Tim Josey to help them get prescription drugs. Josey runs a one-man, non-profit organization called MedService out of his home in Hazlehurst, Georgia. MedService helps low-income, disabled, elderly people receive donated medicines from pharmaceutical companies. After struggling with multiple dial-up services, Josey now uses HughesNet Gen4 to communicate with his clients and their doctors, research insurance rules and pharmaceutical companies’ free medication policies, as well as for personal tasks like downloading movies and updating computer software.
HughesNet Gen4 is built on the industry’s most advanced network of high-capacity satellites and on-the-ground equipment, with the new EchoStar XVII satellite with JUPITER™ high-throughput technology as the cornerstone. From Arkansas to Georgia to Louisiana and beyond, HughesNet Gen4 has launched a new era in high-speed Internet services, keeping people connected to the world and enabling them to get the most out of their online experience.
With growth of its HughesNet® satellite broadband consumer service continuing at a record pace, Hughes is once again embarking on a world first. The company recently announced plans to launch in mid-2016 what will be the world’s highest-capacity broadband satellite—JUPITER™ 2/EchoStar XIX.
With over 150 Gbps throughput, the new Ka-band satellite will have 50 percent greater capacity than JUPITER 1/EchoStar XVII, which was launched in July 2012. Building on the success of EchoStar XVII, the new satellite is being designed with a next-generation architecture having more than 120 spot beams, facilitating optimization of high-quality Internet coverage across the U.S. and parts of Canada and Central America.
Space Systems/Loral (see “The Making of Jupiter”) has been selected to manufacture the new satellite whose expected service lifetime is 15 years or greater. Joining the fleet of Hughes satellites, EchoStar XVII and SPACEWAY® 3, the new satellite will further power the growth of HughesNet in North America—the world’s largest high-speed satellite Internet service—to meet the soaring demand for higher speeds, robust applications, and media-rich online experiences.
The milestone launch of the EchoStar® XVII satellite with JUPITER™ high-throughput technology on July 5, 2012 was a transitional moment for Hughes. Built by Space Systems/Loral and employing a multi-spot beam, bent-pipe Ka-band architecture, our new geostationary satellite boasts a capacity equivalent to approximately 80 conventional Ku-band satellites and an order of magnitude greater than that of our SPACEWAY® 3 satellite, the world’s first switch-in-the-sky, which enables single-hop, site-to-site connectivity.
Setting the stage for the introduction of HughesNet® Gen4 services less than three months later, it represents a major step forward in satellite communications technology, significantly optimizing the use of bandwidth and power with minimum latency.
A bird’s-eye view inside the JUPITER high-throughput system reveals an array of specialized ground components. Let’s talk about some of the most important ones.
Each JUPITER gateway provides multi-Gbps access to the Internet, and is designed with the latest Ka-band RF electronics, along with a flexible and highly reliable baseband subsystem to enable a range of IP services and applications. Each gateway operates in a frequency reuse scheme, and connects to multiple user spot beams, providing services to all the terminals in the beams. Utilizing the latest DVB-S2 ACM waveforms with enhanced LDPC coding schemes, the gateways are also programmable to enable a set of software-defined waveforms, as transport technology evolves for more efficient use of bandwidth and power, and flexible, “future-proof” capability.
The Network Management System
The JUPITER Network Managed System (NMS) is a fully redundant, highly automated, IPv6 subsystem that provides full remote access and control to each of the unmanned JUPITER gateways, many of which are co-located with SPACEWAY gateways.
The new Hughes terminals incorporate dual-protocol stacks for IPv4 or IPv6 operation, and run the latest Hughes F.A.S.T Web Acceleration software to enhance the user experience. The outdoor unit is highly integrated with the latest Microwave Monolithic Integrated Circuit (MMIC) technology, along with advanced passive microwave devices, for improved reliability and better performance. It is also lighter in weight, and facilitates easier, faster installation and commissioning. The terminals are deployed with many of the latest Hughes techniques and algorithms to optimize both transmit and receive performance in a Ka-band link.
More Capability for More Users
But what does all this mean to the customer? With over 100 Gbps of capacity, JUPITER technology is transformational, enabling better services at significantly higher speeds to more customers than ever before. The combination of the high-capacity JUPITER System, alongside the SPACEWAY 3 System with reprogrammable capacity coverage, provides for optimum nationwide service over the continental U.S., including the busy East Coast and West Coast population centers. This not only provides more features and choices for users, but also makes HughesNet service much more competitive in areas where DSL and wireless are commonly deployed today.
As the combined power of EchoStar XVII with JUPITER high-throughput technology and SPACEWAY 3 accelerates the growth of HughesNet Gen4 services in North America, it is also setting the stage for JUPITER technology expansion to other parts of the world. The JUPITER System, inclusive of its gateways, terminals, and NMS, has enormous international potential, as the emergence of Ka-band unfolds around the world. In addition, the technology can address other frequency bands, such as Ku-band, C-band, and X-band, and we expect to roll it out in the next few years in regions such as Russia/CIS and Latin America.
Throughout the development challenges, tight timeframes, and just plain hard work of these launches, the whole company, including engineering, operations, manufacturing, quality, program management, and sales and marketing, made significant contributions, continuing our long tradition of providing best-in-class products and services of the future.
Today, all that work is paying off. As a new-generation, Ka-band system platform that is propelling the world’s largest consumer satellite Internet service to even greater success, the JUPITER System design will be the driver for new Hughes products. We look forward with great enthusiasm and energy to serving the expanding consumer marketplace and its ever-growing demand for higher bandwidth, as well as new opportunities in the enterprise, government, and small/medium business markets.
As the world’s largest democracy and one of its fastest-growing economies, India has made a major commitment to the financial inclusion and education of its citizens. One of India’s greatest challenges is its geography, which, between teeming cities and majestic mountains, includes great swaths of rural and remote landscape that lacks terrestrial networking infrastructure. Fortunately, satellite broadband is helping to bridge this digital divide.
The goal of the Reserve Bank of India is that every village with a population exceeding 2,000 be served by a bank branch or through a business correspondent, or agent. As a result, public sector and private banks are setting up branches, ATMs, and retail kiosks, including fixed and mobile/transportable solutions—all of which require broadband connectivity.
High reliability, availability, and security are critical for banking applications, and as a major provider to the banking sector, Hughes Communications India Ltd. (HCIL) today powers over 20,000 branches and more than 30,000 ATMs that annually process 1.5 billion ATM transactions and 170 million credit card transactions.
For example, HCIL recently announced a contract to connect 27,000 offsite ATMs with a secure broadband satellite network and provide managed network services for public sector banks. The contract is part of one of the largest outsourcing deals in the financial sector, under which the Ministry of Finance and a consortium of public sector banks have contracted with nine managed services providers to install and manage 63,000 ATMs across urban and rural India.
With 63 ATMs per million residents, India has a per capita ATM penetration of only one for every 15,000 people, far lower than developed markets such as the United States and the European Union, or neighboring China with one ATM for every 2,000 people. This initiative is expected to increase the Indian ATM density by over 60 percent, helping to meet the goals of financial inclusion and delivery of e-Government services directly to citizens.
In addition, C-Edge, a joint venture of TATA Consultancy Services and the State Bank of India, selected Hughes to provide over 3,500 branches of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) with a broadband satellite network and managed services. Other key customer banks include State Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, and Central Bank of India.
Meanwhile, with a population of 560 million under the age of 25, and 225 million between the ages of 10 and 19, India considers education a top priority. HCIL helps connect the Edusat network, a government-based project that spans 14 states and is funded by the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Ministry of Human Resource Development. As part of this project, each state has set up a hub that connects to state-run schools and colleges, which are growing at the rate of 4,000 to 5,000 sites per year.
HCIL was also contracted by the government of Punjab to supply and operate a comprehensive, satellite-based Edusat network to deliver quality education content to students in 2,960 educational institutions throughout the state. Industry is also addressing the critical need for skilled manpower. For example, HCIL is providing Maruti Suzuki, Ltd. with a digital training academy incorporating satellite broadband technology to provide live training across its distribution chain, including factories, offices, and dealer outlets. At the same time, many distance learning classes are available in semi-urban centers throughout the country via satellite-powered HughesNet® Fusion Kiosks.
HCIL recently passed the 65,000 milestone of sites on its nationwide service, representing a 40 percent share as the leader of the Indian broadband satellite market in 2012. Among many honors in 2012, the company won the “Best Innovative Product: Broadband” award from the Economic Times Telecom Awards 2012, and is proud to play a key role in India’s financial and educational growth.
There’s not much that celebrates the northern spirit and lifestyle quite so perfectly as the Yukon Quest, a 1,000-mile sled dog race between Fairbanks, Alaska and Whitehorse, Canada. Every February, dog teams brave the mail trails, frozen rivers, and historic Gold Rush routes of the Yukon River Valley in temperatures as low as -50 degrees. The race course takes mushers hundreds of miles from the nearest settlement, alone with their dogs and whatever they can carry on their sleds, with no help from crews between checkpoints.
On the Canadian side of the Quest, coordinating operations and supporting the mushers are enabled by an extensive cell phone network in the Yukon. The Alaskan half is another story. With no permanent infrastructure to rely on, organizers turned to HughesNet® satellite broadband for high-performance Internet connectivity on the U.S. leg of the race.
The team uses email, social media, and VoIP to check on supplies, coordinate personnel movement, and file flight plans. Journalists file stories and images from checkpoints; race teams blog live from the route; and thousands of fans track progress on the Web and through social media.
“The U.S. side is a total dead zone,” said Marti Steury, executive director of Yukon Quest. “Northern Alaska has no cellphone coverage more than 10 minutes outside of Fairbanks. Alaska Satellite Internet and Hughes have been critical for providing connectivity at the checkpoints.”
Alaska Satellite Internet, a Hughes reseller, has provided Yukon Quest with Hughes satellite broadband service for six years. In 2013, Hughes donated four Hughes satellite terminals and HughesNet Gen4 Business Internet service for the checkpoints. Alaska Satellite owner Will Johnson, who maintains a full-time Hughes account for the Yukon Quest Web site, donated the installation and maintenance service.
To get the service set up at the checkpoints, Johnson flew his small plane to each location, carrying Hughes satellite broadband equipment including antennas, radios, and modems. He landed on a roadway at one checkpoint that lacked an airstrip; two other sites had no electric grid, so Johnson connected the satellite equipment to generators.
“The HughesNet service worked beautifully,” said Johnson. “We had a small glitch when we lost access to service tokens, but we got good support from Hughes and got them back. It’s a pretty darn powerful service with good customer support.”
“The Internet is our lifeline,” added Steury. “We start at the same spot, then leapfrog from one checkpoint to another during the race. We have personnel and material spread over 500 or 600 miles, so it’s vital that we know where everyone is and what they’re doing.”
In previous years, high demand for bandwidth at the checkpoints had crashed the team’s Internet connections. This year, not only did the checkpoints have more than enough bandwidth, but the higher-capacity service provided the Yukon Quest with a tool for promoting itself, as well as for coordinating operations.
“Because we’re operating on a lineal, thousand-mile-long playing field, it’s hard to get direct fan participation in the race,” said Steury. “What Hughes has done is open us up to a global fan base. We do something very unique here. We and the Iditarod are the only 1,000-mile sled dog races in the world.”
Unique, indeed. And Hughes is delighted to play a role in keeping the mushers connected during this exciting adventure at the top of the world.
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