Viasat now owns 100% of the KA-SAT satellite providing service over Europe. The company closed today on its purchase of Euro Broadband Infrastructure Sàrl (“EBI”), the wholesale broadband services business created as part of Viasat’s former partnering arrangement with Eutelsat Communications. The deal was initially announced in November 2020.
With complete ownership of these assets, Viasat can continue to diversify its business portfolio in Europe, while establishing operations, distribution and sales for its growing retail, enterprise, mobility and government businesses—ahead of its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)-focused ViaSat-3 satellite.
The move allows Viasat to aggressively pursue its growth strategy in Europe in advance of launching the ViaSat-3 satellite with coverage in the region. That is not expected to enter service before late 2022 at the earliest.
Viasat President and CEO Rick Baldridge sees opportunity for enhancing the company’s multi-tiered partner and distribution strategy, while also launching trials of “new ‘ViaSat-3 like’ home internet plans.” Baldridge also notes new mobility offerings (i.e. in-flight connectivity) could be part of the short-term gains with this transaction complete.
Holding full control of KA-SAT will also give Viasat a level of redundancy and augmented capacity as its global footprint takes shape. Layering the coverage proves particularly useful in the mobility segment (including in-flight) as demand ebbs and flows around hubs, for example.
The relationship between Viasat and Eutelsat, announced in February 2016 and closed in March 2017, has been on shaky ground since early 2018 when Eutelsat announced it would launch its own KONNECT VHTS satellite rather than invest in the European component of the ViaSat-3 constellation. Things became even more bleak in early 2020 when Eutelsat purchased Bigblu Broadband to develop its retail direct sales channel.
Eutelsat has also completed the launch of its KONNECT satellite and signed contracts to fully commit the capacity over France and Italy via local telco partnerships. The company also announced a major move into the LEO market, with a $550 million investment in OneWeb earlier this week.
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