CARLSBAD, Calif., April 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq: VSAT) and JetBlue Airways (Nasdaq: JBLU) have reached a definitive agreement to deploy the first Ka-band commercial aviation broadband network using ViaSat-1, the world's highest capacity Ka-band satellite. The agreement formalizes the memorandum of understanding, entered into last September, in which the companies announced their intention to create the industry's best in-flight broadband for commercial aviation, using ViaSat's innovative Ka-band satellite technology. Ka-band has the ability to offer higher transmission speeds, more bandwidth for each customer, and more attractive airtime pricing than other high-speed in-flight Internet access alternatives. The agreement includes an order valued at over $30 million for Ka-band airborne terminals and services to outfit the JetBlue fleet of more than 170 aircraft.
"Over the past few months we have worked closely with JetBlue and LiveTV to finalize a user-friendly and scalable satellite network for in-flight broadband," said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat CEO and chairman. "We believe the economics of Ka-band will create an environment that will engage more passengers and offer a broader range of online experiences in the air."
Under the agreement, ViaSat will provide satellite broadband terminals for installation on the airline's Airbus A320 and Embraer E190 aircraft along with two-way transmission bandwidth services using the WildBlue satellite broadband network, including the high-capacity ViaSat-1 satellite. JetBlue will be the first airline to receive the ViaSat Ka-band system, and those initial installations are expected to be quickly followed by deployment onboard the Continental Airlines fleet, as announced on March 22 by JetBlue's wholly-owned subsidiary, LiveTV, and subject to final agreement. Installations are expected to begin in 2012.
"We believe JetBlue, LiveTV, and ViaSat make a great team, enabling our customers to stay connected, informed and entertained while in the air," said Robin Hayes, JetBlue chief commercial officer. "Together, we will introduce a product that will give customers true social networking connectivity at altitude – a 21st Century product that will scale with the ever-increasing reliance we all have on our personal communications devices. We will also have the flexibility to design content and price-points around customer's needs, whether that be emailing or streaming movies, at a much more competitive price point than today's ground-to-air products."
The system, the first of its kind for commercial aviation, must be certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration. LiveTV will manage the certification, integrate the ViaSat broadband and related components onboard the aircraft, and provide the Wi-Fi enabled services into the cabin.
"We have been waiting for the right technology to deliver the highest speed and lowest cost connectivity to an aircraft," said Glenn Latta, president of LiveTV. "Our partnership with ViaSat will deliver a system that puts the airline back in control, allowing airlines the freedom to bundle and price the service in ways consistent with their brand."
The in-flight Ka-band system being developed for JetBlue is also a key step in ViaSat's expansion of its successful Yonder® global mobile satellite network to Ka-band in key international markets. ViaSat is adding capacity from regional partners to the network, such as Eutelsat in Europe and Yahsat in the Middle East, which will be accessible to a rapidly growing base of aviation, maritime, and government subscribers now getting high-speed access from Ku-band satellites.
About JetBlue Airways (www.jetblue.com)
New York-based JetBlue Airways has created a new airline category based on value, service and style. In 2010, the carrier ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Low-Cost Carriers in North America" by J.D. Power and Associates, a customer satisfaction recognition received for the sixth year in a row. Known for its award-winning service and free TV as much as its low fares, JetBlue offers the most legroom in coach of any U.S. airline (based on average fleet-wide seat pitch) and super-spacious Even More Legroom seats. JetBlue is also America's first and only airline to offer its own Customer Bill of Rights, with meaningful and specific compensation for customers inconvenienced by service disruptions within JetBlue's control. Visit www.jetblue.com/promise for details. JetBlue serves 64 cities with more than 700 daily flights. Later this year JetBlue plans to introduce service to Anchorage, Alaska, and Martha's Vineyard, Mass. With JetBlue, all seats are assigned, all fares are one-way, and an overnight stay is never required. For information call +1 800 538 2583 from the U.S.A, TTY/TDD +1 800 336 5530, or visit www.jetblue.com.
ViaSat produces innovative satellite and other digital communication products that enable fast, secure, and efficient communications to virtually any location. The company provides networking products and managed network services for enterprise IP applications; is a key supplier of network-centric military communications and encryption technologies and products to the U.S. and allied governments; is the primary technology partner for gateway and customer-premises equipment for consumer and mobile satellite broadband services; and owns WildBlue, the premier Ka-band satellite broadband service provider. ViaSat also offers design capabilities and a number of complementary products including monolithic microwave integrated circuits and modules, DVB-S2 satellite communication components, video data link systems, data acceleration and compression, and mobile satellite antenna systems. Based in Carlsbad, Calif., ViaSat has established a number of worldwide locations for customer service, network operations, and technology development.
Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to the safe harbors created under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including statements that refer to ViaSat's provision of terminals and bandwidth services, the timing of installations, deployment onboard Continental Airlines, and the expansion of the ViaSat network. Readers are cautioned that actual results could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ include the ability to successfully develop, introduce, and sell new products and enhancements; the ability to launch ViaSat-1 or realize any of its anticipated benefits; contractual problems; product defects; manufacturing issues or delays; regulatory issues; technologies not being developed according to anticipated schedules, or that do not perform according to expectations; increased competition; and other factors affecting the communications industry generally. In addition, please refer to the risk factors contained in ViaSat's SEC filings available at www.sec.gov, including ViaSat's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. ViaSat undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements for any reason.
Yonder is a registered trademark of ViaSat Inc.
SOURCE ViaSat Inc.