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Thousands of schools, hospitals, and other public facilities across Mexico are located in regions without terrestrial broadband service. As a result, when it comes to 21st century communications, these facilities have until now been left behind.
But all that is changing, thanks to the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transport (SCT) and the power of Hughes satellite technology. Hughes recently signed a contract with SCT to supply and build an 11,000-site broadband satellite network that will span the entire country and bring Internet and voice connectivity to previously unserved and underserved regions. Operated by Telecomunicaciones de Mexico (Telecomm Telegrafos), a decentralized government office in charge of telecommunications in Mexico, the new $24 million network will connect schools, hospitals, government locations, community centers, and public calling offices across Mexico’s 32 states.
Hughes will supply every component of the network—from its advanced HN System Network Operations Center and 11,000 broadband terminals, to the fiber optic/Internet interconnection equipment, data compression/optimization technology, IP phones, and wireless access systems to serve remote locations. In addition, nearly 1,100 solar power systems will be supplied to support equipment off the power grid. The network is expected to be completed over a five-month timeframe. “Hughes has been providing products and services to SCT for 25 years, and has proven it is a reliable supplier to the Mexican government,” said Monica Aspe Bernal, coordinator of SCT’s Agency for Knowledge and Information. “On a project of this scope and importance, an open public competitive bidding process is mandatory. Other major broadband satellite equipment providers participated in the bid and Hughes’ proposal came out on top.”
“We will strive to retain SCT’s trust and confidence in our ability to create one of the world’s largest broadband networks in such a short time window—with enormous potential social and economic value,” said Nick Marzella, Hughes vice president of sales, Latin America.
Indeed, by bringing high-speed Internet access and voice connectivity to thousands of schools, hospitals, community centers, and other public facilities throughout Mexico, SCT is embarking on a project of vital importance—one that will open doors, create opportunities, improve communications, and truly make a difference in people’s lives.
Launched on October 1, 2012, HughesNet® Gen4 Internet service is delivering dramatically greater speeds and enabling customers to do more online than ever before—reaching consumers and small businesses in North America no matter where they live or work. Powered by the EchoStar® XVII satellite with JUPITER™ high-throughput technology, the new service has triggered increased demand in what was already the fastest-growing business at Hughes—with over 600,000 HughesNet subscribers, the world’s #1 high-speed satellite Internet service.
Whether used for watching video clips, downloading music, shopping, chatting, or eLearning, HughesNet Gen4 gives customers the performance required to support today’s high-bandwidth applications. Compatible with both Windows and Macintosh operating systems, Gen4 is highly secure and offers user management tools that maximize the customer experience. For example, the Status Meter monitors up-to-the-minute usage, and Bonus Bytes provide an extra allowance that can be used during off-peak hours. Hughes Network Operations Centers are equipped to monitor customer networks at all times, and are staffed with qualified engineers to provide professional and reliable customer support.
HughesNet Gen4 offers three service plans to meet every budget—with speeds from 10 Mbps up to 15 Mbps—and additionally provides an upgrade program for existing customers. The Power Plan is ideal for homes with one computer, easily handling email, social media, shopping, casual downloads, and Web browsing. The Power PRO Plan offers a higher download speed and higher download allowance, perfect for homes with one or two computers, and for users who want to share many photos or video clips, and download music. The Power MAX Plan offers the best choice for users with multiple computers who spend a great deal of time on the Internet, watch videos, and do a considerable amount of downloading.
HughesNet Gen4 is built on the industry’s most advanced network of high-capacity satellites and on-the-ground equipment, with the cornerstone being the new EchoStar XVII satellite with JUPITER high-throughput technology. Setting a new standard of excellence in satellite Internet, HughesNet Gen4 frees people to live where they love and love where they live—and still stay connected.
Weeks after Superstorm Sandy pummeled the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the U.S., many thousands of people and businesses were still without power—recovering and rebuilding from flooding, fires, and downed trees. And so were terrestrial network providers, with many base stations, towers, and switching centers knocked out in the wake of the storm.
Conversely, satellite networks withstood the disaster well, with limited or no reported disruption to service. As the largest satellite network provider in the U.S.—with a combined subscriber base of over 800,000 businesses and consumers across the country—Hughes played a vital role in keeping emergency responders, businesses, and people connected during the storm and in its aftermath. Because satellite provides an alternate and robust communications path less susceptible to land-based disruptions, it is ideal for either primary communications or as a backup system to complement terrestrial services. With nationwide reach, Hughes satellite broadband solutions can keep organizations and people connected regardless of location or terrain, even when disaster strikes.
Hughes customers across the devastated region include thousands of gas stations, banks, restaurants, pharmacies, and hotels—many of the service organizations that are urgently needed in the aftermath of a disaster. By virtue of being able to monitor all these locations, identify those with power, and deliver other critical site-related information, Hughes provided a valuable service to the All Hazards Consortium (AHC), a not-for-profit organization focused on homeland security, emergency management, and business continuity. Working closely with Hughes, AHC helped to quickly disseminate information to responders and mobilize recovery efforts.
Round-the-clock network monitoring of its managed service customers provides Hughes with connectivity and network traffic information that offers a good indicator of which businesses are likely to be open. Initially providing connectivity information about customer locations in hard-hit New Jersey and New York, Hughes went on to expand the reports to include customer sites in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia, enabling the AHC to quickly share this information with emergency managers, first responders, and utility crews. The New Jersey Governor’s office expressed its appreciation for this assistance, indicating that it was especially valuable in the early days of the response effort.
“The work of emergency officials and utility crews after this disaster is truly heroic, and Hughes is proud to provide whatever assistance we can to help them in their efforts, so citizens needing aid can get it as quickly as possible,” said Tony Bardo, assistant vice president of Government Solutions at Hughes.
Indeed, although chaos after a disaster may be inevitable, getting critical information out quickly is one contribution of today’s technology that can help bring relief to the people who need it most.
Deep in Utah’s Salt Lake Valley surrounded by mountains, the software engineers of the Hughes Solutions Group are on a mission—to develop the most compelling and cost-effective communications solutions possible to meet the shifting needs of a digital world.
All organizations—whether businesses, governments, universities, or other institutions—usually know what they want to say. What they often lack is a high-impact way to deliver that information amid the constant noise and competing messages of today’s marketplace. That’s what the Hughes Solutions Group is all about: providing media-based solutions to deliver high-impact communications content to customers, employees, and constituents.
Organizations need to constantly communicate up-to-date information to their various audiences, both internal and external, and when it comes to impact, nothing beats video. That’s why video is a part of everything the Solutions Group develops—from digital signage, to corporate communications, to interactive kiosks, to live and on-demand training.
Hughes MediaSignage™, for example, helps businesses create a unique customer experience, encouraging increased sales and brand loyalty in a tough, competitive market. A network of digital signs that display dynamic video, text, and graphics to any number of locations simultaneously can provide the most cost-effective, high-impact communications possible. The digital screens are centrally managed via an easy-to-use Web interface, enabling businesses to easily change messaging by time of day, customer demographics, or dynamically according to what is being purchased at that moment.
At the same time, organizations know that they must invest in their employees to ensure they retain the best ones. The Hughes Digital Bulletin Board and Breakroom TV keep employees well-informed and engaged, while Hughes MediaTraining and Learning Portal provide live and on-demand training that maximize workforce productivity and performance.
The team in Utah is made up mostly of software engineers, along with marketing and sales personnel. The staff of more than 35 spends a good part of a typical day listening to customer feedback, discussing customer requirements, developing ways to solve customer problems, and incorporating ideas in ways that benefit all customers.
They must be doing something right. Oil giant BP is using Hughes eLearning to train its employees in several European countries. In Los Angeles, the world’s largest sheriff’s department is using the latest in digital media and broadband tech¬nologies from Hughes to bring innovative communication and education programs to its law enforcement work environments and to inmates in correctional institutions. Cabela’s, the world’s foremost outfitter of hunting, fishing, and outdoor gear, uses Hughes Digital Signage at its retail locations to enhance the customer experience. The City University of New York uses the Hughes Learning Portal to train its city workers to handle disasters. And Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah is using Hughes MediaSignage Solution to deliver player and coach information, as well as enabling an interactive visitor experience in its new football lobby.
As organizations engage in the business and challenges of today, they also need to start thinking about the technologies and strategies they’ll need in the future to engage customers and constituents train and retain employees, and ensure their networks can keep up with growing bandwidth and server needs. Digital solutions are a key part of the Hughes “Branch of the Future” concept, which addresses these needs with an array of innovative technologies, ideas, and solutions. (See related story “What Does the Store of the Future Look Like?” in Channels Spring 2012.)
Hughes uniquely offers both transport infrastructure and communications and media infrastructure, integrating all the technology, broadband network connectivity, and professional services necessary for complete, cutting-edge private video signage and training networks. Once a Hughes digital solution is delivered and integrated, the customer may choose to manage it directly or hand off the content and messaging to Hughes for a fully managed service.
“Informed and trained employees are confident employees, who then deliver great customer service. And great customer service leads to business growth,” said Mike Tippets, vice president of the Hughes Solutions Group. “Today’s orgaizations recognize this as a competitive edge and are using video and other digital media to communicate with and train their distributed organizations.”
That’s why, back in Utah, the Hughes Solutions Group is busy working on the next generation of digital solutions that will help businesses, governments, universities, and other organizations to meet the communications needs of tomorrow—with impact.
With Hughes Digital Solutions, organizations will be sure they're sending the right message, to the right audience, at the right time.
People are using the Internet more and more every day—for entertainment, education, and commerce. That’s why we launched HughesNet® Gen4 broadband service—to deliver our customers higher-speed Internet access and more choices than ever before. Powered by our EchoStar® XVII satellite with JUPITER™ high-throughput technology, the new service in just a few months has triggered increased subscriber growth in what is already the fastest-growing business at Hughes. Meeting the added demand for this next generation of consumer terminals and ground segment support in a short timeframe presented the Hughes manufacturing organization with some significant challenges and called for a truly massive effort.
Launched by Arianespace on July 5, 2012, the EchoStar XVII satellite was built by Space Systems/Loral based on the Hughes-designed JUPITER technology platform; but it was up to the manufacturing team to build the new system gateways and customer terminals—on time and within budget. Nearly two years ago we began planning for prototype production and setting up the needed supply chains. I’m happy to report that we successfully met the tight schedule requirement to build, test, and deploy 14 gateways throughout the U.S. and two in Canada in time for service launch on October 1, and to ramp up annual production of the new HT1000 terminal to over 400,000 units. All of this meant increasing our staffing by over 50 percent and shifting into peak production mode, quickly moving to a 24 x 7 schedule, running three shifts a day, seven days a week. Nearly 80 percent of the terminals we build today are for use with HughesNet Gen4 service on the EchoStar XVII satellite.
To successfully accomplish such a major project requires a high degree of flexibility. I consider Hughes manufacturing as a service organization—here to build product from prototype to mass production. We look at Hughes engineering and business groups as our customers, and our job is to meet their requirements. If they want more or less product, we figure out how to do it—with minimum schedule and cost impact. If they need something tomorrow that we don’t have today, we figure out how to build it. This is our commitment to them and our company.
Since one of our key functions is to support engineering with new product introductions, every part of the manufacturing organization supports engineering in some way. The two teams are “joined at the hip” in terms of the level of cooperation and teamwork. This partnership makes the transition from development to production much smoother for everyone—from design engineers, procurement personnel, and planning staff, to manufacturing program managers and operators on the shop floor. It also facilitates the process, allowing our engineering staff easy access to prototypes as they are being built and helping us to build in quality at the design stage.
The importance of quality is paramount, and we go to great lengths to ensure that the components that go into our products are of the highest quality and that our products are rigorously tested before they leave the facility.
No less important than quality of the product is how responsive we are to changing customer and business demands. We achieve this objective by blending in-house manufacturing and outsourcing to optimize cost, schedule, and technical performance. All final assembly of Hughes-designed products is conducted at the Shady Grove facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland with some outside sub-assembly in China, Taiwan, and Europe.
The blended manufacturing strategy allows us to expand or contract manufacturing capacity in very short order. This is one of our key strengths, enabling our businesses to react to changes in demand and thus be better able to respond to changing customer needs. That’s why we have been able to meet the high market demand for HughesNet Gen4.
Looking forward, as demand for rich media content continues to grow and people continue to find new uses for broadband, Hughes products and services will experience significant growth in sales. The manufacturing team stands ready for any challenge—whether it’s ramping up production, quickly turning around new design prototypes, modifying existing products, shipping products anywhere across the globe, or providing customers with after-sales warranty and logistics support. We never say no.
In August 2012, Hughes was awarded a Custom Satellite Communications Solutions (CS2) contract by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to provide commercial satellite end-to-end communications to government customers, including federal, civilian, defense, and intelligence agencies.
Through this contract, Hughes will provide COMSATCOM end-to-end solutions to meet the unique needs of government customers, including fixed satellite services, mobile satellite services, and components and equipment such as terminals, teleports, circuits, subscriber identity module (SIM) cards, and peripherals. In addition, the company will provide design and engineering services, ongoing maintenance and operational support services, customer care and help desk support, and training.
A multiple-award, Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) vehicle, the contract is the final component of the Future COMSATCOM Services Acquisition (FCSA) program, a joint acquisition program between the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and GSA that enables government agencies to purchase satellite communications.
Pradman Kaul, president of Hughes Network Systems, was honored in September with the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award at the COMSYS VSAT2012 Conference in London. The award recognized Kaul’s significant contributions and dedication to the industry over a career spanning four decades.
Kaul joined Digital Communications Corporation (DCC) in the early 70’s, later to become Hughes Network Systems, where he led a start-up band of engineers that in the mid-80’s invented the VSAT (very small aperture terminal) and launched the satellite networking industry. Recognized as ‘Distinguished Alumnus’ of the University of California and George Washington University, Kaul was awarded the third IEEE Third Millennium medal in 2000 and inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2004. He was awarded ‘Satellite Executive of the Year 2008’ by Via Satellite magazine, and inducted into the Society of Satellite Professionals International (SSPI). Most recently, Kaul was honored with the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Innovation in 2012.
“Hughes has been at the forefront of the VSAT industry since its inception and Pradman has always been centre stage, providing the leadership, vision and support that made Hughes’ success possible,” said COMSYS senior consultant, Simon Bull. “I was in awe of him in 1985 and I still am today. At COMSYS we are pleased to recognise and thank Pradman for the contribution he has made to our industry over more than 30 years.”
On receiving the award, Kaul said, “This comes as a complete surprise. After all these years I am still passionate about the satellite market. It is a privilege to be part of an industry which continues to see impressive technology developments such as the latest expansion of Ka-band. Satellite is now firmly part of the global communications landscape, and the future of our industry looks more exciting than ever.”
Hughes also recently earned a spot on the InformationWeek 500, an annual listing of the most innovative users of business technology in the U.S., and a 2012 Unified Communications TMC Labs Innovation Award for Hughes Enterprise VoIP. In addition, Hughes Communications India, Ltd. won the award for the “Best Innovative Product: Broadband” at the Economic Times Telecom Awards 2012, as well as being ranked as the leader in the Indian VSAT industry by Voice and Data Magazine, with a reported 52 percent market share in FY12.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the…Internet. Today, people are so accustomed to always-on, high-speed Internet access that they want to stay connected no matter where they are—even while flying in an airplane. No longer considered a luxury, inflight connectivity is now a competitive amenity. That’s good news for Row 44.
California-based Row 44, a leader in airborne broadband communications and entertainment, offers commercial airlines a global, satellite-based inflight broadband entertainment platform and private-label broadband service. Powered by a Hughes satellite communications platform and broadband connectivity via Hughes teleport facilities, the Row 44 system enables airlines to offer passengers high-speed Web browsing, email, text messaging, live entertainment, and video-on-demand services using their Wi-Fi-enabled cellphones, PDAs, and laptop computers.
U.S. carrier Southwest Airlines has been equipping its fleet of Boeing 737 jetliners with Row 44’s onboard high-speed, wireless Internet system, enabling Southwest travelers to enjoy the benefits and convenience of inflight connectivity for the first time. Now, Row 44 has expanded into Europe and is supplying its platform and service to Norwegian Air Shuttle, enabling one of Europe’s most innovative airlines and Scandinavia’s second-largest airline company to offer both inflight Wi-Fi and device-based entertainment to passengers throughout its entire fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft. The move is already paying off for the carrier, which was recently honored with the 2012 APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) Passenger Choice Award for “Best Inflight Connectivity & Communications.”
As part of its worldwide expansion, Row 44 has also signed agreements to supply its airborne connectivity and entertainment products to Icelandic Air, Russian-based carriers Transaero and UTair, and Allegiant Travel Company, which specializes in linking travelers in small cities to world-class leisure destinations. Recently completing its 400th aircraft installation, Row 44 provides the world’s most widely deployed satellite-based inflight Wi-Fi service.
As part of the satellite broadband communications solution underpinning the Row 44 inflight system, Hughes is providing Row 44 with its advanced HX System, as well as the uplink service, network operations, space segment, and maintenance services.
“Row 44 opens up a worldwide opportunity for Hughes to supply our advanced broadband satellite technology and services in this growing market, representing an emerging part of our global enterprise business,” said Peter Pardee, vice president, Business Development at Hughes.”
Today, with its inflight broadband service powered by Hughes, Row 44 is taking flight around the world, focused on enabling its customers to deliver an unparalleled broadband communication and entertainment experience with the world’s most advanced inflight broadband platform.
Hughes Communications India, Ltd. (HCIL) was selected by NIIT Technologies to connect police stations across the heavily forested state of Jharkhand in eastern India under the mission-mode Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS) project. CCTNS is part of India’s National e-Governance Plan, one of India’s largest e-governance initiatives. The project will link the State and National Crime Records Bureaus, creating a central records database that can be accessed in real time from any police station across the country, greatly enhancing police efficiency in the detection and prevention of crimes. HCIL will provision the network with the assistance of a service provider (engaged centrally by MHA/ NCRB), providing multicast and unicast satellite IP connectivity to 400 locations across the state using high-performance Hughes broadband satellite terminals.
Hughes Europe has been awarded a contract by Emtele, a specialist value-added reseller in global machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions for remote monitoring, to supply high-availability satellite connectivity services as part of a ten-year Smart Grid project for Finnish energy giant, Elenia. At the heart of the solution is Emtele’s broadband FieldCom® network service, which utilizes the Hughes HN System platform and related satellite services for nationwide coverage, providing high-availability connectivity to all electric distribution substations that are without access to reliable terrestrial networks. The communication network will enable Elenia to remotely monitor more than a thousand unmanned energy substations and other sites throughout Finland for the purposes of electric distribution remote management, including both security and maintenance.
Hughes Europe and Bentley Walker will launch Ka-band communications services into the Middle East over the Avanti Hylas 2 satellite, opening up significant new satellite capacity in the region. As part of the new agreement, which builds on the companies’ long-standing relationship, Bentley Walker has purchased three additional Gateway NOCs from Hughes, including two of the latest HX System 4.0s. This will enable local VNOs (virtual network operators) to be set up and will augment Bentley Walker’s existing Ku-band broadband offering to U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan for morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) purposes. Existing users will be able to benefit from an easy upgrade path to the new Ka-band service, which offers higher throughput speeds at a lower cost using a smaller dish. This landmark deal with Bentley Walker will provide enhanced services to soldiers in the field who need reliable and secure communications to stay in touch with family and friends.
With a worldwide workforce, oil giant BP considers employee training key to the success of its business. But the company found it was outgrowing its Retail Training System, which was implemented by mailing a CD to each site or sending a trainer to individual BP Retail locations to deliver the program in person.
As a result, the company was looking to streamline the employee training system at European BP Retail sites to meet a number of requirements, including a high degree of flexibility. The solution needed to accommodate multiple languages, including German, English, French, Dutch, and Polish, while also supporting different branding schemes, such as Aral branding in Germany and Luxembourg and BP branding in other countries.
The solution also needed to integrate tightly with other internal BP systems, such as its employee management system. At the same time, it had to be flexible enough to address the unique needs of key stakeholders in seven different countries, all with varying requirements of compliance, data privacy, and commercial demands. Finally, the solution needed to accommodate the needs of different types of BP Retail sites, including dealer-owned, company-owned, and franchised.
That’s when Hughes stepped in, providing BP with the Hughes Learning Portal, a fully-hosted Learning Management System (LMS) that enables organizations to easily deliver, manage, and track online training. A turnkey, Web-based learning management system that is cost-effective and easy to use, the Learning Portal is designed to provide online certified training supported by a specific management reporting capability to BP Retail sites, which enables the company to monitor the success of each improvement initiative. In addition to employee training, the system supports a range of applications, including partner training, HR communications, product demonstrations, compliance training, and customer surveys.
The ability to effectively undertake training programs remotely offers a number of other benefits, such as reducing corporate travel costs and delivering skills improvement uniformly across multiple locations and countries. All training and related information is disseminated instantly, and online tools allow managers to easily verify that staff are successfully completing the training.
During the initial implementation phase, BP identified further product features that would enhance the learning experience for its staff. The Learner Dashboard, for example, provides learners with a quick overview and recap of the training sessions they have completed, planned future sessions, and helpful supporting news and information from the training team. As a result, the Dashboard has now been successfully piloted in the German market and will be extended to other markets along with the broader eLearning facility.
Following successful pilot programs in Germany and Poland, the Hughes Learning Portal has now gone live in both countries, and pilots will soon be phased in across the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, and Switzerland. Once the initial seven-country rollout is complete, there is the potential to extend its application further across other European countries.
“The success of this strategic eLearning initiative is based both on the robust, flexible capability of the Learning Portal and BP’s trust and confidence that we can deliver,” said Terry O’Nien, senior account manager at Hughes Europe. “BP is a company where all aspects of performance are rigorously measured, and Hughes continues to provide consistent improvement in line with agreed-upon service level agreements.”
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