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On September 18 at the VSAT 2013 Conference in Amsterdam, Hughes was honored with the first-ever VSAT Service Provider of the Year award for innovation in service delivery over satellite networks. Key to winning that award is the success of our North American HughesNet® Gen4 Internet service powered by JUPITERTM high-throughput technology on the EchoStar® XVII satellite. The award is a tribute to all of our employees who worked tirelessly to bring up the new system—a complex combination of new technology for the gateway platform and terminals, and a new high-throughput satellite, with well over 100 Gbps capacity. At the same time, we repurposed our existing SPACEWAY® 3 platform to provide a new high-speed service, effectively deploying two different systems at the same time.
If you look at how most people conduct their business, operate their homes, educate their children, and get their information today, the Internet is integral to everyday life. That’s why this system launch was so meaningful— bringing consumers in North America speeds of up to 15 Mbps and making an important difference to people’s quality of life. HughesNet subscribership has now surpassed the 800,000 milestone. To further expand our distribution of the new HughesNet Gen4 service, we have signed several important new partners— DISH Network LLC and Frontier Communications as wholesalers, and DIRECTV as a sales agent.
Media Networks Latin America (MNLA), a Telefonica subsidiary, recently selected JUPITER technology to power the first Ka-band service in Latin America. With so many underserved markets, the region provides a tremendous opportunity to grow satellite broadband services. It also provides a model to operators around the world who have aspirations to offer the level of broadband service that’s needed to be part of the global economy.
Earlier this year, we launched HughesONTM, our new brand for a comprehensive suite of managed network services optimized to meet the unique needs of distributed organizations. This advanced portfolio of network and digital media solutions spans a wide range of applications—from high-capacity, high-availability networks, to digital signage for customer and employee communications and training, to managed security and WiFi. HughesON solutions are provided as end-to-end turnkey offerings for enterprises, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations, leveraging their existing networking infrastructure for greater performance and affordability, and freeing them to run their operations while Hughes runs their networks.
Recent extensive testing by the Tolly Group, a leading global provider of third- party validation services for network and IT products and services, has proven that HughesON Performance Optimization delivers high-capacity, end-to-end QoS and superior application performance over ordinary broadband networks.
Some other highlights worthy of special mention are a breakthrough branch gateway that uniquely combines high security, WAN optimization, and routing in a single device; and voice over IP (VoIP) capability designed with a special optimization technology that allows the voice service to run seamlessly even while a customer is performing other tasks such as downloading files.
On the digital media front, HughesON Digital Media Solutions enable organizations to deliver high-impact messaging to customers, constituents, and employees, including online training. One of our most popular introductions is BreakroomTV, which provides infotainment for employees when they’re taking a break. Companies can communicate to employees, tell them more about the company, and provide important information, but also let them relax during breaks and watch some TV. The HughesON digital component can run on any of the transport technologies that Hughes provides.
Hughes provides many satellite networks for government agencies that deliver services to their employees or constituents in communities without terrestrial broadband. We see this as a good growth segment going forward. Additionally, our digital media signage products are attracting government interest. In courtrooms, hospitals, and motor vehicle administration offices, for example, members of the public need directions, up-to-date information, and perhaps some TV infotainment to help reduce perceived wait times. Our digital media solutions are ideal for this.
In addition, Hughes is a service provider to the Government Education and Training Network (GETN), a massive government network that’s used to train civilian and military government employees around the country. We currently provide services to the Social Security Administration, the Veterans Administration, and the Department of Agriculture at inspector locations in rural communities.
When it comes to network resilience and emergency response, Hughes has a stellar record of providing critically needed satellite service when disaster strikes. Our SPACEWAY® 3 satellite has the unique ability to switch and route traffic onboard, enabling users around the country or within an emergency setting to instantly communicate with each other during a storm or in the aftermath of a disaster. For example, we deployed a network for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during Superstorm Sandy and subsequently rolled out an emergency network in New York. We’re seeing interest from many other regions in the country for this type of Continuity of Operations, or COOP, solution that is prepositioned and ready to go.
For a number of years, we have worked closely with Row 44, a subsidiary of Global Eagle Entertainment that provides in-flight Internet access and entertainment to commercial airline customers. Row 44’s service is powered by our HX technology platform onboard aircraft and with comprehensive Hughes service and support, including system operations, space segment, network engineering, and program management. Several new contracts have been signed to expand Row 44 coverage further across Europe and in Russia, and for the first time will connect North America and Europe with trans-Atlantic coverage. Recently, Row 44 has announced memos of understanding in China and Thailand, which will extend its reach globally.
Looking to the future, we’ve already signed a contract for our next satellite— JUPITER 2/EchoStar XIX—which is on schedule to launch in 2016. At well over 160 Gbps, JUPITER 2 will be the world’s highest-capacity broadband satellite and will enable us to bring high-speed Internet service to an estimated one million or more new subscribers, including those in Central America. And with our HughesON suite of network and digital media solutions, we’re better positioned than ever to provide advanced services to enterprises and governments in North America and around the world. Broadband is indeed what we do best.