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ViaSat Partners to Benefit From Launch of Latest Communications Satellite

ViaSat-2 Satellite

ViaSat, the global broadband services and technology company, on Thursday is launching its highest capacity communications satellite, ViaSat-2.

The new satellite will allow ViaSat channel partners to offer internet service with seven times the current coverage area — and at higher speeds. It’s being launched on an Ariane 5 ECA rocket at Guiana Space Center in South America.

ViaSat's Cody Catalena

ViaSat’s Cody Catalena

ViaSat works with the channel to provide satellite internet as either a primary service to businesses that cannot get Internet because cable, fiber or wireless is not available in their area, or as a secondary system. If a major enterprise’s primary internet service goes down, they can switch over to ViaSat and continue to operate business as usual, the company says.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Cody Catalena, ViaSat’s vice president of global business solutions, talks about the significance of the launch and new opportunities for partners.

Channel Partners: What types of partners does ViaSat work with and what do these partnerships entail?

Cody Catalena: ViaSat works through master agents in the channel. We also work through a number of aggregators, but most of our interaction with the end customer of our products and services is through the channel. We do not have a direct sales force competing with the channel and we really value that relationship with those master agents that sign up other agents and provide us a valuable connection to that end customer.{ad}

We have some key relationships with the master agents and the different aggregators that we do business with, and so that is not a formal partner program … but that is something that we’re going to be expanding as we bring ViaSat-2 into service and grow so we can leverage the channel a lot more than we do today.

CP: How significant is the new satellite launch to your business?

CC: The significance of ViaSat-2 to our business cannot be understated. ViaSat-1 … covers about 85 percent of the population with high-speed connectivity, and ViaSat-2 will have seven times the coverage area of ViaSat-1. The speeds will be a minimum of 25 megabits per second but up to 50 or 100 megabits per second depending on where you are within that footprint. So the increase in the footprint is tremendous, but also the speed and capacity that that satellite is providing allows our customers in the channel, our agents and master agents, to go out there and sell a service to customers that otherwise can’t be served. So it’s a huge impact. It’s covering all the way from the top of South America, throughout most of Canada, all of the United States, the Caribbean Basin and the bridge over to Western Europe.

We’ll be ready to launch service in early 2018. There’s a certain amount of time that it takes to get the satellite from where it leaves the rocket up to its final position, and then there’s a testing and turn-up process, and then we start providing service.

CP: Will the launch mean new opportunities for your partners? Can you give some examples?

CC: The value of the product we’re delivering right now is great, and we allow our partners to sell a product and make sales that they otherwise couldn’t make when people want high-speed internet connections, and we’re only going to improve that value with ViaSat-2. That is a huge opportunity because they’re going to have an even better product that they can now sell to these customers that provides better value with more bandwidth, more capacity, and even in areas where ViaSat-1 didn’t cover now we will have covered.

We’ve already announced that we’re building a ViaSat-3 class satellite … for global coverage. So that shows our channel partners that ViaSat is committed to continuing the improvement on that value that they can deliver to their customers. The ViaSat-3 satellites that will be going up in a few years are up to a terabit throughput and each one of them covers a third of the globe. So you can see how ViaSat is really changing the game and upping the ante when it comes to the value of the connectivity that these partners can resell to their customers.

CP: What does the high-speed connection mean in terms of a primary and secondary business offering for the channel?

CC: ViaSat-2 is going to be the most powerful connectivity satellite launched in the history of the world. So what that really means is we’re able to deliver a bit with better economics than anybody else in the industry. That trickles all the way down to our customers in the channel. So what ViaSat is able to provide to the people in the channel is the ability to sell a primary internet connection (to customers) unreached by any other type of connectivity, underserved or unserved. And that doesn’t mean that the end customer doesn’t have an internet connection. They may have an internet connection that’s not very good. It could be slow speed, it could be frequent outage, any type of connection like that. So it allows us to be a primary connection to those types of customers, but also allows us to provide redundancy or backup to every customer no matter what type of primary connection they have because we’re truly covering every square inch of that footprint that ViaSat-2 will be looking down on.

CP: Who are ViaSat’s customers? Is there growth taking place in specific industries or verticals?

CC: Those customers stretch across all different industries. It’s really a broad customer base. We’ve had customers in fast food, retail and agribusiness, industrial, oil and gas, and construction. We have a big residential business, and we have a mobility and in-flight business. So we really stretch across the gamut when it comes to those customer types.

CP: Is the number of partners that ViaSat is working with increasing? If so, what’s driving that growth?

CC: That number is definitely growing and we’re going to look to grow that even more as we launch ViaSat-2. And what’s driving that growth is the value that we’re providing in the channel. The channel sees that and they see that they can sell more because of the service that we provide.


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