US company ViaSat sets up R&D centre in Chennai

Chennai, June 30 (IANS) The US-based satellite broadband Internet company ViaSat on Thursday inaugurated its India research and development (R&D) centre here. The $1.4 billion revenue Nasdaq-listed company hopes to increase the headcount at the centre to 250 in three years, a senior official said.

“Currently 40 engineers are working at the centre. This number is expected to go up to 250 by 2019,” Sathya Narayanaswamy, Vice President, India, told reporters here.

He said the company hopes to offer its satellite-based broadband Internet services by 2019 when it would have its first of the ViaSat 3 series satellites in orbit and by which time the Indian regulations are expected to permit its service.

He said that the India centre will help ViaSat to connect the world with high-speed broadband Internet.

In the US, the company offers satellite-based broadband Internet services to the residential segment and to passengers of some airlines during flight.

“In the US, we have a residential customer base of around 700,000 and the average revenue per subscriber will be around $70 per month,” Kevin J. Harkenrider, Senior Vice President, Commercial Networks, ViaSat, said.

According to Narayanaswamy, the company is in discussions with the Indian government to allow it to offer its services in the country by altering the rules.

“We have to get the landing rights for our satellite signals in India,” he added.

ViaSat will be launching its second satellite ViaSat in 2017 and ViaSat-3 in 2019.



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