Satellite broadband startup WildBlue Communications Inc. has picked the person who will lead the company toward a commercial service launch in the second half of 2004.
The budding Ka-band-based service provider has appointed Ken Carroll to president and chief operating officer. In that role, he will head up WildBlue's operational and sales structures.
WildBlue's new leader has strong corporate ties to John Malone's Liberty Media Corp. Carroll most recently served as president and chief financial officer of Liberty Satellite & Technology Inc. Liberty Media recently acquired the outstanding shares of Liberty Satellite it did not already own. Before joining WildBlue, Carroll was senior vice president and chief financial officer of Primestar Inc., a cable-back DBS provider that DirecTV acquired in 2000.
Early this year, Liberty Satellite, Intelsat and the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative put WildBlue 's plans back in orbit with a $156 million investment. In October, Liberty Satellite scrapped earlier plans to revive AstroLink, another broadband satellite startup based on Ka-band technology.
Carroll said WildBlue will stay true to its long-standing mission: delivering broadband to areas not touched by high-speed cable and DSL lines.
"In this highly competitive environment, we'll be focusing our efforts on an economical package of broadband services that will be available to the rural communities across the country, bringing the benefits of broadband access via satellite to homes and businesses that aren't currently part of a core market," Carroll said, in a statement.
Among other recent WildBlue hires:
Jim Elliot has joined Wildblue as vice president of infrastructure. Previously, he was with Ball Aerospace's Commerical Space Operations business and, before that, was a program manager at Lockheed Martin.
Thad Mazurczyk, a former exec with High Speed Access Corp. and Primestar, was named vice president of engineering.
Randy Thompson as vice president of space systems. Thomson previously was vice president of advanced technology at Liberty Satellite.
Patrick Bailey as director of information technology, Joe Ducey as gateway director, and Lisa Gillenwaters as director of operations analysis.