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Satellite Communications Technology

Viasat's Real-Time Earth ground station now open in Australia

(30 June 2020 - Viasat) Viasat proudly announced today the official launch of its Real-Time Earth (RTE) facility in Alice Springs, Australia.

Viasat partnered with the Centre for Appropriate Technology Ltd (CfAT), an Aboriginal not-for-profit science and technology company based in Alice Springs, which built and owns the new facility through its wholly-owned commercial subsidiary CfAT Satellite Enterprises Pty Ltd, and Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), an Australian Commonwealth commercially-focused government authority, which helped finance the project and provides related commercial advice and support.

Viasat's RTE network provides Ground-Station-as-a-Service (GSaaS) to the earth observation and remote sensing community. The service offers affordability and reduced latency through automation and geographic diversity on a pay-per-use basis. Viasat's RTE service will be able to support next-generation and legacy low earth orbit satellites using the S-, X-, and Ka-bands, which will enable operators to meet today's and tomorrow's data requirements.

"We are delighted to announce the Viasat RTE facility in Alice Springs is now open for business," said John Williams, vice president of Real-Time Earth at Viasat. "CfAT, IBA and the Alice Springs community-at-large were instrumental in executing this impressive RTE ground station. This new facility will enable the advancement of how critical data for environmental, shipping, oil and gas, government among other industries is delivered on-demand around the world."

Peter Renehan, CEO of CfAT Ltd, said, "It is a huge achievement for CfAT to have built this amazing Viasat RTE facility. Working with great support from our partners Viasat and IBA, we have demonstrated that CfAT can continue to contribute positively to technology and critical space advancements, which will benefit Indigenous people and communities in outback Australia, as well as the broader Australian economy. The project has already delivered important skills transfer to Aboriginal people. We were very proud of the local Aboriginal workers who developed new skills and successfully assembled the two 7.3m antennas. The local economy has also benefited, with $1 million spent during the construction phase on local businesses, including two wholly-owned Aboriginal companies. CfAT is also contracted by Viasat to provide on-site facilities management and on-going site maintenance. The future looks bright, and we are looking forward to building on our business relationships with Viasat and IBA to bring this new technology to Australia."

Rajiv Viswanathan, CEO of IBA, said, "Built and owned by our Indigenous partner CfAT, this RTE facility is a nationally significant infrastructure development which will help to completely transform the geospatial analytics and earth observation industries in Australia. We are incredibly proud of CfAT's achievement. The successful construction of this facility shows the whole world that Aboriginal people can be at the forefront of new technology industries in Australia. CfAT is a successful Aboriginal corporation that has for many years been at the vanguard of technology innovation and application in remote Australia. Despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, CfAT and its subsidiary Ekistica successfully developed this facility with Viasat. CfAT now have an exceptional opportunity to grow its business in Australia as it looks to generate commercial returns for CfAT as well as flow-on benefits for end-users of geospatial data such as local Indigenous land and sea managers. We are proud to support CfAT in realizing their ambitions for growth in the space sector."

Alice Springs, Australia Location

Viasat's RTE satellite ground station facility is located at CfAT's Heath Road site in Alice Springs, Australia. It consists of two Viasat full-motion antenna systems and associated infrastructure. The new ground station forms part of the Viasat RTE network and complements other Viasat RTE sites in North America, South America and Europe.

About CfAT

CfAT is an Aboriginal company, with 50% Aboriginal workforce, established in the 1980's, that operates across regional and remote Australia delivering infrastructure and technology solutions mostly to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, providing service and infrastructure platforms that allow people to maintain their relationship with country. The company's approach is driven by the view that the successful delivery of services and the technologies and infrastructure used to achieve them will be different to the way things are done in urban Australia. This has shaped our success and led to the development of highly innovative new technologies.

About IBA

IBA is a commercially focused Australian Government organisation. Economic independence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is at the heart of what we do. Our programs assist Indigenous Australians to buy their own homes, be successful in business, and invest in commercial ventures that provide strong financial returns.

About Viasat

Viasat is a global communications company that believes everyone and everything in the world can be connected. For more than 30 years, Viasat has helped shape how consumers, businesses, governments and militaries around the world communicate. Today, the Company is developing the ultimate global communications network to power high-quality, secure, affordable, fast connections to impact people's lives anywhere they are—on the ground, in the air or at sea.