The WildBlue-1 satellite is in geostationary orbit above the earth. It was built for WildBlue Communications by Loral Space & Communications. After its launch in 2006, the WildBlue-1 satellite became operational in 2007.
Weighing over five tons, the WildBlue-1 satellite is a multiple spot-beam broadband satellite. When it launched, the WildBlue-1 was also the first all-Ka-band satellite in the world dedicated for commercial use. With its considerable weight, it was launched from French Guiana on an Ariane 5 rocket. At the time of its launch, the expected lifetime of the WildBlue-1 satellite was 15 years.
The WildBlue-1 was developed to meet the high demand for satellite broadband service in North America. When it became operational in 2007, it expanded broadband internet access to locations without land high-speed internet providers.
Though compared to current satellite internet speeds its service is slow, when it launched, subscribers were eager to receive WildBlue-1 download speeds of up to 3 Mbps. WildBlue-1 helped to triple WildBlue Communication’s satellite internet subscriber capacity in remote regions. With the launch of WildBlue-1, the company added more than 10,000 subscribers a month.
Initially, WildBlue Communications commissioned the satellite and launched it to enhance its capability in providing broadband satellite internet service to remote areas in North America. In 2009, Viasat purchased WildBlue Communications, which included the WildBlue-1 satellite. WildBlue-1 is now part of the larger Viasat fleet of geostationary communications satellites.
The WildBlue-1 satellite provided broadband internet service to WildBlue Communications internet subscribers. When Viasat bought WildBlue, the WildBlue company name continued to be used until 2017. Viasat communicated to its WildBlue legacy customers that Viasat satellite capacity had far outstripped the original capacity of WildBlue-1. The WildBlue brand name was retired and subscribers were encouraged to shift their contracts to Viasat Internet. In 2021, Viasat concluded wildblue.net email services. As of 2022, the WildBlue-1 satellite has been operational in geostationary orbit for the full duration of its expected lifetime. Viasat continues to build out its capacity to provide high-speed satellite internet as it nears completion of its new ViaSat-3 constellation of high-performance satellites.
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