Sunday 4 May 2014

Xplornet Announces Satellite Capacity on ViaSat-2

Xplornet Communications Inc recently announced that it contracted for all the Canadian residential capacity on the new ViaSat-2 satellite. Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems is building the new KA based bird. It is scheduled for launch in mid-2016. 

This new capacity is in addition to and almost double the Canadian capacity Xplornet currently has on ViaSat-1. To get a feel for the overall capacity of the two satellites, ViaSat-2 has 2.5 times the capacity of the existing ViaSat-1. Assuming a 12 Mbps download service speed, ViaSat-2 could theoretically handle 2.5 million users versus ViaSat-1's one million users. Put another way, ViaSat-2 could handle one million users at 30 Mbps.

While Xplornet controls, under lease arrangements, the Canadian capacity of ViaSat-1, Exede is a prime user of the system in the United States. A February 2013 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report listed Exede as exceeding its advertised 12 Mbps download speed 137% of the time. This was the highest percentage amongst the major ISPs tested.  I have been unable to find any similar studies for ViaSat-1/Xplornet in Canada.

ViaSat -2 Footprint

Returning to ViaSat-2 , the overall coverage outline is different from conventional previous patterns. It covers the major transatlantic air and sea routes as well as the major Caribbean  cruise ship areas. This will enable ViaSat to offer satellite based Internet connectivity to these major industries.

With the two ViaSat satellites operational, Xplornet should be able handle the congestion and capacity issues that have plagued it in the past. Unfortunately, the commissioning of ViaSat-2 is still a considerable time in the future.