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Ka-band satellite service provider WildBlue Communications Inc. has selected ViaSat Inc. to build the company's satellite modems.

The initial portion of this contract is valued at approximately $16 million and covers development and production of satellite modems to support initial service launch.

WildBlue plans to roll out two-way broadband services via satellite in early 2002. It plans to be the first to launch the next generation Ka-band spot beam satellite technology that is designed to lower the cost of providing high-speed Internet access via satellite.

WildBlue's investors include EchoStar, Liberty Media Group, TV Guide, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Space Systems/Loral, Arianespace, TRW and TeleSat.

WildBlue's modem is expected to serve the same purpose as a dial-up, DSL or cable modem. It will convert the analog data transmissions into Internet Protocol (IP) data packets.

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