Overall state of satellite internet

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Nothing really new here, but a good overview of where we are with satellite internet today.

https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/1...
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ExSatUser

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Posted 3 weeks ago

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Admiral Korbohuta

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Interesting read. I wonder what the numbers for 2019 will show? Probably a significant loss of subscribers for both HN and Viasat.
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Old Labs

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For Viasat as of 9/30 - U.S. fixed broadband subscriber ARPU reached a record $86.94, an increase of 17% year-over-year; as a higher percentage of the 587,000 subscriber base selected the Company's premium broadband service plans.

Subscriber count has been steady the last couple of quarters. They aren't focused on subscriber counts, but rather maximizing ARPU. The rumors of Viasat's demise are greatly exaggerated. Look at the bigger Viasat picture rather than simply consumer services.

As the article states - "ViaSat's consumer broadband service is a relatively small piece of the overall company. EchoStar primarily makes money through its satellite internet service." 
(Edited)
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ExSatUser

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I mean it is pretty evident Viasat is all about tweaking a little something in its plans to charge more. An extra few GB here, maybe a new "unlimited" plan there, add a blue light to modem, etc.

They know they are not going to get a lot of new customers. So find a way to get more $$$$ out of existing ones. And hope they can get doing this until Viasat-3 arrives with a whole new plan structure. Maybe with a green light modem too!
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Spinninghorse, Champion

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I thought Viasat 3 was due in 2020. Crap.
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ExSatUser

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It WAS. Satellite has been delayed though (at least a year)
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Voyager

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This may prove disastrous.  If Viasat doesn’t get a hoard of new users on 2-year contracts before the LEO folks launch their service, they will never get more users.
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Steve Frederick-VS1/Beam314, Champion

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I am sure V3 will be in the air and operational long before those LEO satellites become a real thing.
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Admiral Korbohuta

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Considering the technical problems of Viasat 2, I wouldn't put much faith in V3 either.
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ExSatUser

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They cant afford another failure. That is why they will be very deliberate with putting up the next satellite.
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Admiral Korbohuta

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I hope they're not too deliberate putting the next one up. That could lead to more problems.
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ExSatUser

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They will be. Viasat-1 was delayed quite a bit too.
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Voyager

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There was little competition when Viasat-1 was launched and not much had changed with -2.  If -3 is delayed past 2021, that may not longer be the case.  I actually think that from a business perspective, Viasat-3 makes no sense at all.  If I was a stockholder, I would be protesting and pushing for Viasat to get with the LEO program although they may already be too far behind the curve.
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ExSatUser

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They are thinking a global network for 3 satellites and focusing on commercial air internet, not residential.
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Voyager

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Why do you think airlines will use an expensive, high latency, low bandwidth GEO satellite once the much more effective LEO constellation is in place?
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ExSatUser

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Latency isnt going to matter to airlines because the bulk is streaming.

Things more slower in the commercial world, where Viasat is the leader of internet in the air. They will do whatever to protect that business, at least in the near future. You think airlines are going to trust a new, unproven technology right away?
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Voyager

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The leaders like Southwest will give it try when they are offered the service at a better price.  And once customers start flocking to airlines that offer wifi at half or less of current prices, the other airlines will follow suit pretty quickly.  Viasat will be able to lower their price only so far and I expect not far enough to be competitive. It will be fun to watch, but I certainly would not invest in Viasat at this point.
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ExSatUser

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Southwest doesnt even use Viasat today.
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Voyager

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Another reason they are one of the most successful airlines.
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bubs

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Viasat 1 was a complete bust, didn't cover the area at all, just closed the beam right after Exede was offered and it stayed that way, so pretty useless.  Viasat 2?  That brought up to 12 meg and the $110 cheapest plan with 35GB, so that's also a bust, plan double the cost of the competition for half the data (almost).  There is absolutely no reason to be "excited" about Viasat 3 until after it is up and a person sees the plans.

And that's the perspective I'd have if I didn't already have the alternatives, let alone more alternatives coming, out here in the literal middle of nowhere.  Luckily for Viasat they have more than the residential market to use, for now.  Unless they have some sort of magic plan or magic trick up their sleeve....

Of course, if they'd put something that looks like one of these on the modem, I'm all in, no matter the cost.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=lil4co0z7QA
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Voyager

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You mean you don’t sit and ooh and ahh at the mesmerizing blue light like a few others here do?  That blue light is worth $100/month all by itself, right?  LOL.
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Stephen Rice, Champion

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Viasat 1 is useless?  I'm on it right now.  I've no clue what color my modem is blinking at the moment though.  It is in the other room.

What plan am I on and how much priority data have I used for my current billing cycle?
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bubs

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No Viasat 1 coverage at all for this area (or half the country), plus the existing crowded beam was closed almost immediately, and for years. So yes, pretty useless,-for the area-, when it couldn't be used and offered no relief.
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ExSatUser

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Correct. Viasat-1 only serviced maybe half the country. People in select areas of the country could only get Exede-5 on older satellites because of ones coverage area.

But this was planned, by all accounts Viasat-1 delivered what it was intended to do. But it didnt deliver the one million customers it was stated it had the capacity for.
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Homeskillet

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Viasat losing customers to Hughesnet, I am sure that shocks no one. What I do find interesting is the number of overall satellite customers growing at the rate it is. I figured the expansion of cell wireless would poach a good amount of their customers. It seems to have on this forum and with lots of my neighbors.
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Voyager

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A pretty useless article overall and nothing really new.  I agree that investing in Viasat would be insane and I question their advice to even consider Echostar.  With no additional capacity until probably 18-24 months from now, there is some chance that Starlink will be providing service to select parts of the US by then.  If Starlink is successful at all by 2021 with a contract-free service, I think very few people are going to sign 2-year contracts with the GEO folks.  One good thing is it may at least cause the incumbents to drop their contract requirements if they want to get any new business at all.

As to cellular taking share from satellite, that is fairly unlikely as most cellular effort is focused on bringing more bandwidth to folks who already have it (5G), not bringing service to rural areas.  The only real rural competition is coming from electric cooperatives who are starting to get into the broadband business.  This is still only a trickle, but I believe is accelerating based on the coverage I am seeing at NRECA conferences and such.
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ExSatUser

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It's the Motley Fool. Just an investment article. The sub numbers was what I thought was most interesting.