Hughes offers bandwidth-on-demand satellite services

Hughes Government Services this month has launched a global satellite-based bandwidth-on-demand service that could save federal users from the expense and management of leasing their own satellite transponders.

Instead of acquiring full satellite transponders through a long-term lease DemandNet users would pay only for the spectrum on an as-needed basis in increments ranging from 64 kilobit/sec to 2 megabit/sec or even higher according to Robert Swanson president of Hughes Government a newly formed division of Hughes Space and Communications.

This approach will help federal users "reduce communications costs by as much as 70 percent " Swanson said. Savings on specific examples would depend on factors such as customer requirements the number of users and the area of coverage the company said.

DemandNet will provide government users - including state and local as well as federal customers - with a turnkey "one-stop shopping" approach to global communications requirements Swanson said.

Under the new program users will only have to install a satellite terminal and the requisite electronics with Hughes handling the rest of the service through a new bandwidth management center in El Segundo Calif.

DemandNet has already acquired worldwide satellite coverage through five international satellites operated by Pan American Satellite - which Hughes has an agreement to acquire - as well as U.S. domestic satellites owned and operated by Hughes.

Ronald Rosati Hughes' director of DemandNet services said the company will provide government agencies with a total end-to-end solution including all communications equipment and services systems engineering integration installation and the 24-hours-a-day bandwidth management center. Hughes also will handle all negotiations for landing rights abroad through its DemandNet package Rosati said.

Rosati said telemedicine stands out as an "ideal" application for DemandNet services because telemedicine requires two-way high-data-rate circuits but not on a full-time basis.

With its global coverage DemandNet could easily satisfy Defense Department requirements to provide services to areas lacking a terrestrial communications infrastructure such as Bosnia where DOD had to acquire and install the Bos-nian Command and Control Augmentation system to extend high-bandwidth Defense Information Systems Network (DISN) circuits to that country as well as neighboring Croatia and Hungary Rosati said.

Fast Turnaround

Rosati added that Hughes also can offer fast turnaround saying the company can set up "most networks within three months of [receiving a] contract." Rosati said Hughes has not "knocked on the door" of the Defense Information Systems Agency even though the new service meets many of DISA's requirements. Rosati said Hughes also plans to work with telecommunications providers looking to bid on the Pacific and European extensions of the domestic DISN.

DISA director Lt. Gen. Al Edmonds has long espoused "bandwidth on demand" as the direction DISA should take with its terrestrial networks.Warren Suss a Jenkintown Pa.-based telecommunications analyst said he believes DemandNet fills the bill for similar overseas requirements. DISA currently has a contract with Communications Satellite Corp. to acquire full commercial satellite transponders under a long-term lease and Suss said DemandNet "sounds like what [DISA] would like that contract to be."

Suss added that DemandNet also fits well with the long-term satellite scenario outlined by top Pentagon management.

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