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It’s been a long time coming, but Hughes Network Systems, today announced that it successfully activated the first HughesNet consumer subscriber for broadband Internet service utilizing its SPACEWAY 3 satellite on April 3rd, 2008.

“With this significant milestone, our SPACEWAY 3 satellite has officially commenced carrying revenue-bearing traffic, making Hughes a fully integrated service provider,” said Pradman Kaul, president and CEO of Hughes.

Launched by Arianespace in August, 2007, SPACEWAY 3 was subsequently placed into geostationary orbit by Boeing in December, 2007, at which time Hughes assumed operational control. The spacecraft was built by Boeing Satellite Systems and is based on the Boeing 702 design.

DirecTV’s 2-way satellite internet business (and Spaceway 3) was spun off from Murdock’s DirecTV to Hughes Network Systems. Currently HughesNet, with some 325,000 subscribers, offers 2-way satellite internet to consumers using the Ku band (11/14 GHz). Now, with the Ka band spotbeams on Spaceway 3 (at 20/30 GHz), HughesNet expects to expand the business.

With 10 Gigabits per second of gross capacity, Hughes says SPACEWAY 3 is the highest traffic-carrying satellite to be brought into service in North America. The Ka-band broadband satellite system, is different from it’s main Ka data competitor WildBlue. While WildBlue links must be switched terrestrialy, SPACEWAY 3 uses on-board traffic switching that enables direct small-dish-to- small-dish connectivity. Advanced antenna technologies with Ka-band spot beams provide 2-way broadband services.

Hughes Network Systems has shipped more than 1.5 million systems to customers in over 100 countries. Its broadband satellite products are based on global standards approved by the TIA, ETSI and ITU standards organizations, including IPoS/DVB-S2, RSM-A and GMR-1.

Spot beam satellites providing 2-way internet access in North America now includes:

In other news, Elektrobit showed their dual-mode satellite-terrestrial HSPA handset at CTIA Wireless in Las Vegas this month. It is based on the Windows 6.1 mobile operating system.

The all-IP enabled handset reference platform is a satellite phone that will be able to seamlessly connect via both the satellite and terrestrial components of the TerreStar network, which is the sole carrier at this stage.

Related DailyWireless Space and Satellite News includes; Hughes Launches Switchboard in the Sky, HughesNet & Broadband Corporation, Spot Beam Sats Multiply, Clearwire & SatTV Do a Deal, Sprint Beams Up with MSV, TerreStar: I-HSPA for Satphones, Satphones: Merger Ahead?, Inmarsat + SkyTerra = Spectrum Sharing, Mobile Satellite on the Move, TerreStar Gets a Slot, Satellite Repeaters – Grounded In Reality?, WildBlue Partners with DirecTV & Echostar, John Malone in Space, TerreStar Gets a Slot, BSkyB + Google, SkyNet Satellite Hacked?, Lockheed CEO: Space is Broken, MSS: AWS Alternative?, WildBlue: AT&T’s DeathStar?.

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