Revived Ka-band satellite broadband service provider WildBlue Communications has taken one more step toward deployment by penning a new launch contract with Arianespace.
Ariane is scheduled to launch the WildBlue 1 satellite from the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, in early 2005. WildBlue 1 is slated to become one of the first fully dedicated Ka-band spot-beam satellites to offer consumer high-speed Internet service.
WildBlue initially will offer its services using its license for the U.S. Ka-band payload aboard Telesat Canada's Anik F2 satellite, which is scheduled to launch in late 2003 into the 111.1-degree WL orbital location. WildBlue 1 will be launched into WildBlue's 109.2-degree WL orbital slot.
WildBlue, owned by Intelsat, Liberty Media and National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, plans to provide broadband service to rural and remote areas in the United States. WildBlue in December announced a $156 million investment from Liberty, Intelsat, NRTC and others.
Space Systems/Loral in Palo Alto, Calif. is building the WildBlue 1 satellite.