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Operating quietly behind the scenes at Hughes is a team of highly trained people who act as the gears that make everything work. Aptly named the Products and Services Group, this is the team that’s responsible for delivering all products and services to our customers— including consumers, small businesses, enterprises, and governments. Its charter encompasses everything from network design, engineering, installation, maintenance, and network operations, to security, billing, and customer support.
In today’s tough economy, IT staff and budgets are becoming increasingly constrained, and as a result, our enterprise and government customers expect us to handle more and more managed services on their behalf. These organizations are looking for high-availability networks, sometimes with multiple diverse circuits within a single site. For example, an organization might have some terrestrial sites with satellite backup, other sites with 4G backup, and a third group of sites with two different terrestrial providers. An important benefit that Hughes brings to the market is its many years of experience managing networks large and small, combined with the flexibility—and the necessary “gears”—to personalize solutions to meet the varying needs of our wide customer base.
Today Hughes ranks among the top three service providers of managed networks in North America. As a single-source, multi-technology transport provider with a national footprint, we not only offer our own broad portfolio of HughesONTM managed network solutions, but we also aggregate best-of-breed offerings from other Tier 1 providers into fully managed services for our customers. With more than 400 qualified terrestrial partners, we have unmatched capability to manage any combination of cable, fiber, wireless, and satellite networks. In addition, our customers can see in real time what’s going on with their sites, applications, and services through our sophisticated Hughes customer gateway and network management portal.
At Hughes, we believe that listening to customers is key to both service development and service delivery. That’s why one of our most important tools is the Hughes Users Group (HUG), an independent group that’s governed by an elected board with membership open to all Hughes enterprise and government customers. At the strategic level, the HUG provides us feedback on future direction for our products and services. At the operational level, the group gives specific input on what we can do better, such as the types of services we offer, performance enhancements, and the functionality of our network management portal. We use the HUG as an invaluable tool to focus our resources and our “gears” on the highest-priority issues, and to help make us a better service company. The enterprise customer survey is also an invaluable feedback tool used to enhance our service delivery performance.
Last August Hughes launched a powerful new satellite—EchoStar® XVII with JUPITERTM high-throughput technology— and just three months later introduced HughesNet® Gen4 services, with the highest-speed plans for consumers and small businesses in the market. The implementation of EchoStar XVII and HughesNet Gen4 was a massive initiative that depended on all our “gears” being in top form.
Counting our two owned Ka-band satellites—SPACEWAY® 3 and EchoStar XVII—plus leased Ku-band transponders, we now operate our services over 32 satellite Points of Presence (POPs). Our next-generation JUPITER 2/ EchoStar XIX—scheduled for 2016 and with a huge capacity of more than 150 Gbps—will add eight additional locations. From a network management and surveillance perspective, this means many more environments to manage on a 24x7 basis. To accommodate the growth, we’ve staffed up our Detroit and North Las Vegas centers to support the expanding field maintenance requirements and the Germantown Network Management Center (NMC) for surveillance and management capabilities.
In fact, with HughesNet service exceeding expectations—700,000 subscribers at last count—we’ve had to scale quickly to stay ahead of the consumer acquisition curve. In addition, we recently signed DISH Network LLC and Frontier Communications as wholesale partners and DIRECTV as a sales agent to offer HughesNet Gen4 service to their customers.
In the end, it’s the responsibility of the Products and Services Group—the “gears”—to ensure that Hughes products and services perform flawlessly for our customers. I am confident that our highly integrated sales, marketing, R&D, and operations teams will continue to bring our customers superior, value-added solutions that power our continued market leadership.