formerly KaStar and iSKY

From WildBlue May 20th, 2005

Denver, CO—WildBlue Communications, Inc. today announced the company’s commercial service rollout will begin the first week in June.  WildBlue will begin introducing its satellite Internet service, providing high-speed Internet connections to homes and small businesses in communities in the continental U.S. not currently served, or underserved, by other high speed providers.  As previously announced, WildBlue initially will be available through participating members of the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC).
As part of the early rollout of WildBlue, the company has selected Bijou Telephone Cooperative (Bijou) as the NRTC member to install WildBlue’s first customer.  Bijou provides telephone and dial-up Internet services to approximately 2500 customers along the I-70 corridor from the East side of Denver to Limon, Colorado. 
"The time has finally come!" exclaimed Tom Moore, CEO of WildBlue.  "We’ve completed our nationwide beta test, and a whole new world of information and opportunity awaits the estimated 20 million households that do not currently have access to DSL or cable modem Internet service.  WildBlue is proud to start offering broadband services to the people of small-town America and the underserved customers in out-of-the-way pockets all across the country.  WildBlue will reach these audiences, and will bring with it the benefits of high speed Internet access they have not been able to enjoy in the past."
The WildBlue service will be rolled out by NRTC members during the month of June, eventually being offered by over 280 rural electric and telephone companies by the end of the month.  WildBlue plans to add rural consumer electronics and satellite TV dealers across the country over the following few months, and expects to reach national availability of its service by the end of the third quarter 2005.
The company will offer three basic service packages to consumers and small businesses:  Value Pack - $49.95 per month for speeds up to 512 kbps; Select Pack - $69.95 per month for speeds up to 1.0 Mbps; and Pro Pack - $79.95 per month for speeds up to 1.5 Mbps.  All packages include ISP services including email and web space, the WildBlue Portal, featuring the latest news, information and entertainment, customer care, and an equipment warranty.  WildBlue will initially offer its equipment package for $299.00 and professional installation for $179.95.  Free installation will be offered by NRTC members as a special rollout promotion.
An always-on broadband Internet connection, WildBlue's wireless service provides 2-way wireless high-speed data in both directions.  Customers will not need an additional phone or cable line or the expense of a traditional dial-up ISP in order to receive broadband Internet access. The service is easy to install, and requires no software installation on customers’ computers.
Consumer and businesses who are interested in obtaining WildBlue’s high speed Internet service, should visit www.wildblue.com.  Customers or media outlets interested in following the launch progress should visit the media section on WildBlue website to register for updates.  For a listing of NRTC members and the geographic territories that they will serve, please visit the NRTC WildBlue dealer locator.

About WildBlue
Denver-based WildBlue Communications, Inc. was established to accelerate consumer broadband access to the Internet in smaller cities and throughout rural America.  WildBlue's services are designed to deliver on consumer desires for a fast, affordable, always-on two-way technology for wireless Internet access.  Service is slated to begin in June 2005.  More information on the company is available at wildblue.com.

From WildBlue.com May 7th, 2002

Corporate Backgrounder

Broadband. Within Your Reach.WildBlue's Mission Is To Make Affordable Broadband Internet Access Available To Everyone.WildBlue will deliver affordable two-way broadband Internet access via satellite to virtually any home and small business, regardless of their locations. WildBlue's motto is "Broadband. Within Your Reach."

WildBlue will use a 26-inch satellite mini-dish equipped with both a transmitter and receiver for two-way satellite connectivity to the Internet. WildBlue service does not require cable or phone lines. It is accessible to virtually every home and small business in the contiguous US, including the estimated 32 million homes that will not be wired for terrestrial (DSL or cable modem) service when WildBlue is introduced.

WildBlue's technology is based on next generation, two-way wireless Ka-band spot beam satellite technology, which dramatically lowers the cost of providing high bandwidth access to the Internet. WildBlue will have the critical "first mover advantage" preceding any other Ka-band satellite launches by at least one year. Our satellite modem design is based on high volume terrestrial broadband and digital broadcast satellite standards, which lowers our cost by leveraging their scale efficiencies.

WildBlue has a significant equity stake in US Monolithics, a leading satellite and wireless transceiver designer, to further help in its efforts to lower the cost of the satellite dish. The resulting low cost structure enables an affordably priced high speed Internet service that is available virtually anywhere within sight of one of our satellites. This could equate to a price and bandwidth advantage over satellite competitors using older Ku-band technology and a larger "footprint" service area vs. DSL and cable modem service providers.

WildBlue's strong concept, technology and business plan has attracted blue chip strategic investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, EchoStar, Liberty Media, TV Guide, Telesat and TRW. In addition, the company has a seasoned management team of Internet, satellite and cable industry executives. Among these is David Drucker, WildBlue's founder and chairman, who was one of the founders of EchoStar Satellite Corporation (provider of the DISH satellite TV service). WildBlue CEO and president Thomas Moore was previously was a senior executive at CableLabs and one of the architects of Data Over Cable System Interface Specification (DOCSIS), the cable-modem engineering specification that is now a worldwide standard.

WildBlue's management and technical team is composed of terrestrial and satellite data communications experts from top companies including EchoStar, Cable Television Laboratories, Tele-Communications Inc., Time Warner Cable, SynOptics, Loral, Bay Networks and Pac Bell. All have been brought together to serve the single objective of accelerating customer access to broadband, bringing it down to earth for everyone. WildBlue's first core service offering, to be rolled out in 2003, will offer homes and small offices/home offices (SOHO) an Internet connection that is easy to use, reliable, always on, and up to 50 times faster than standard dial-up service. WildBlue Internet service for consumers includes typical Internet Service Provider features (e-mail, shopping channels, instant messenger, web hosting, news etc.). It also opens up a window to a world of rich content that is unavailable through dial-up service. For example, consumers can download a movie on demand, attend University courses hundreds of miles away or e-mail a family photo. The future could bring new applications like interactive TV, multi-cast events, enhanced web shopping, etc. The flat rate monthly fee for unlimited broadband Internet access for consumers is expected to be comparable to DSL and cable modems. We expect the satellite dish, modem and professional installation cost to be similar to that of satellite TV.

WildBlue Internet service for small businesses is expected to offer even higher speeds, up to 3.0 Mbps, and one of the best suites of Internet and e-commerce services the marketplace has to offer -- reliable web hosting, server management, security firewalls, web-site design and integration with other computer systems. WildBlue also plans to offer businesses a cost-effective telecommuter solution that is available virtually everywhere in the contiguous US.

Space Age Technology
Bringing Broadband Down-to-Earth

WildBlue's satellites will operate in the Ka-band frequency (20 to 30 GHz) from fixed geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) locations above the United States, Canada and Latin America. There are a number of Ka-band satellites in operations today, including one in the US, the NASA Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS), launched in September 1993 and located at 100 degrees west longitude. These satellites helped prove that two-way broadband via satellite works. WildBlue's Ka-band satellites use a large number of small "spot beams" pointed at different geographic regions instead of using one single U.S. beam. Spot beams allow a large degree of frequency re-use (i.e. multiple beams can re-use the same frequency as long as they are aimed at different parts of the country). As a result, WildBlue's Ka-band satellites should get up to 4 - 6 times as much bandwidth per dollar as a Ku-band satellite. The lower cost of bandwidth enables affordable pricing for WildBlue's broadband access. WildBlue's geostationary earth orbit satellites (stationed in a fixed position over the earth) can provide continuous service throughout the contiguous US, once a single satellite is in place. In contrast, low earth-orbit (LEO) satellites, used by some service providers, do not remain in a fixed position over the Earth, requiring a constellation of satellites before offering continuous service to the first customer.

WildBlue's network will use advanced bandwidth-on-demand technology to send and receive data. This technology allows the WildBlue system to allocate greater bandwidth the instant the user needs it, allowing higher speeds or "burst rates," than traditional circuit-switching approaches. Conversely, when a user is not transmitting any data, no bandwidth is allocated. This makes "always-on" feature of WildBlue's service possible, since connections that are on but idle do not tie up bandwidth. With "always-on" Internet access, consumers do not have the hassle of dialing in to their ISP each time they want to access the Internet. One of WildBlue's largest customer segments will be made up of those homes and small businesses that do not have access to cable modem or DSL broadband services. Analysts estimate that up to 32 million U.S. and 70 to 80 million Latin American households, primarily located in smaller cities, suburbs and rural areas, will not have cable-modem or DSL options when WildBlue commences services in 2003.


WildBlue plans to implement a robust distribution strategy designed to quickly ramp up customers. WildBlue plans to sell direct to consumers and through retail channels. Direct sales will be through web site, telemarketing and direct response marketing to a toll free number. The retail channel strategy will benefit from a partnership agreement with Echostar to leverage the 23,000 retailers of their DISH network satellite TV service. Echostar and WildBlue are also co-developing a single equipment solution for a bundled DISH TV and WildBlue broadband data service. EchoStar has made a $50 million equity investment in WildBlue. On a more limited basis, the company may sell bandwidth wholesale to terrestrial DSL or cable modem service providers to allow them to expand the geographical footprint for their broadband data services. Their desire to expand footprint will be driven by regulatory mandates to make advanced telecommunications services available broadly. For example, the Texas legislature has passed a law requiring urban service providers to make similar service available everywhere. They will also want to compete for business customers who need broadband without boundaries for telecommuting employees and retail sites.

Customer Service

Some future WildBlue customers will have access to either cable modem or DSL service, but will want an alternative. For them, operational excellence and customer service are key differentiators. For perspective, about 70% of new satellite TV subscribers have a cable option, but choose satellite TV. As such, development of a word class operational infrastructure for sales, marketing, installation, customer service and billing are all underway.

Pre-flight preparations

WildBlue was founded as KaSTAR Satellite Communications in Colorado in April 1995. On May 8, 1997, the FCC assigned WildBlue Ka-band (20 to 30 GHz) fixed-satellite service (FSS) licenses at orbital locations of 73 degrees west longitude and 109.2 degrees west longitude. WildBlue's first phase will include the deployment of one satellite for each of these slots that will reach most of North, Central and South America. The 109.2-degree slot is an important strategic location. It will allow WildBlue to offer a "one dish solution", meaning customers can use one WildBlue 26" dish to receive both WildBlue's high-speed Internet access and either of the two U.S. satellite TV services (DirecTV(r) and DISH(r)). In early 2000, WildBlue entered into an agreement to obtain the Ka-band rights to TeleSat's ANIK F2 satellite at 111.1 degrees west longitude, increasing WildBlue's North American capacity and strengthening its position in the key part of the orbital arc. WildBlue also has FCC applications filed for Europe and Asia, and plans to roll out service to these geographies as licenses are granted. WildBlue selected Space Systems/Loral as the prime satellite contractor for the construction of WildBlue 1, its first satellite. WildBlue 2, the Ka-band payload of Telesat's ANIK F2, is under contract to be built by Hughes. And WildBlue 3, WildBlue's third satellite, is in the process of being procured. WildBlue has contracted with Arianespace, the world's most reliable launch provider, to launch its first two satellites. In August 1998, TV Guide, Inc. (a part of GemStar) made a strategic investment in WildBlue. In May 1999, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers made an equity investment. In December 1999, WildBlue received a further investment from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, TV Guide and Liberty Media. In April 2000, WildBlue received another significant round of investments from all existing shareholders and EchoStar. As a result of these investments, WildBlue is on track with its financing plans.


WildBlue is aligned with some of the top companies in the business and will continue to pursue partnerships and alliances to fulfill the company's mission. Existing alliances include:


EchoStar Communications Corp. includes three interrelated business units. DISH Network(tm) is EchoStar's state-of-the-art direct broadcast satellite system that is capable of offering over 500 channels of digital video and CD-quality audio programming, including Dolby Digital surround sound, high-speed interactive television and data services, all on a single dish, as well as offering fully MPEG-2/DVB compliant hardware and installation. EchoStar Technologies Corporation designs, distributes and oversees the manufacturing of DBS set-top boxes, antennas and other digital equipment for DISH Network and various international customers that include Bell ExpressVu Canada and the Vía Digital system in Spain. Satellite Services provides the delivery of interactive video, audio and data services to business television customers and other satellite users. DISH Network, which currently serves over 3.4 million customers, is a trademark of EchoStar Communications Corporation. EchoStar is included in the Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX), which contains the largest non-financial companies on the Nasdaq Stock Market. DISH Network is located on the Internet at www.dishnetwork.com

Liberty Media

Liberty's investment in WildBlue is held by LSAT, LLC, a limited liability corporation between Liberty Media and TSAT that is 90 percent owned by Liberty Media. Liberty Media holds interests in numerous globally branded entertainment networks such as Discovery Channel, USA, QVC, Encore, and STARZ! Liberty's assets also include interest in international video distribution businesses; international telephony and domestic wireless telephony; plant and equipment manufacturers; and other businesses related to broadband services. Liberty Media Group Class A and Class B Common Stock are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbols LMG.A and LMG.B, respectively. You can visit them on their web site at www.libertymedia.com

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is one of the most successful venture capitalists in the technology sector, having funded many of today's most innovative Internet-related companies such as Amazon.com, America Online and @Home. The firm has created more than 100 publicly traded companies with another 80 on their way. Kleiner Perkins has raised more than $1.2 billion in capital and has invested in new companies whose total market value now exceeds $80 billion. You can visit them on their web site at www.kpcb.com

TV Guide

TV Guide, Inc. is a global diversified media and communications company that operates three primary business units, TV Guide Entertainment Group, TV Guide Magazine Group, and United Video Group. TV Guide markets and distributes products in the United States to more than 100 million cable and satellite homes every week. TV Guide also markets its products internationally in more than 30 countries. TV Guide itself is the largest circulation publication in the U.S. You can visit them on their web site at www.tvguide.com

Space Systems/Loral (SSL)

Space Systems/Loral, based in Palo Alto, Calif., is a leading designer and manufacturer of both geostationary (GEO) and low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Its GEO communications satellites include direct-broadcast, multimedia, broadband and digital audio radio spacecraft. You can visit them on their web site at www.ssloral.com.

U.S. Monolithics

U.S. Monolithics is an emerging high technology company focused on providing superior, low-cost, product solutions to the growing wireless telecommunications markets such as local multi-point distribution service (LMDS), point-to-point radio, and satellite communication systems. USM products include industry leading high power and low noise GaAs microwave monolithic integrated circuits (MMICs) and multi-chip modules (MCMs), which include high power amplifiers and transceivers. USM is headquartered in Chandler, Ariz. For more information, please visit the company's web site at www.usmonolithics.com.

WildBlue Summary Overview

  • Analysts predict that up to 32 million U.S. homes still won't have DSL or cable modem access in 2003. WildBlue expects to provide an always on, broadband Internet service that is comparable to DSL or cable modems and is up to 50 times faster than a dial-up modem. WildBlue will use a 26-inch mini-dish equipped with both a satellite transmitter and receiver for two-way satellite connectivity to the Internet. No phone lines or cable are needed. The dish can also be configured to receive satellite television. The monthly fee for unlimited broadband Internet access is expected to be comparable to DSL and cable modems. We expect the satellite dish, modem and professional installation cost to be comparable to satellite TV equipment and installation. Target Customers
  • WildBlue service will be available to approximately 100 million US homes. We will target customers living in small towns, farms, resort areas and the suburbs. Often already consumers of satellite TV, they may have limited access to terrestrial broadband or they want an alternative to their current provider.

The DOCSIS cable modem and the digital broadcast satellite standards form the technical basis of WildBlue's satellite modem and should result in low customer equipment cost. WildBlue has a significant equity stake in US Monolithics, a leading satellite and wireless transceiver designer, to help in its efforts to provide a cost effective outdoor unit. Using "spot beams" to allow multiple re-use of the same frequency, providing high capacity at low cost. Ka-band satellite technology is proven by years of in-orbit service and hundreds of demonstrations by NASA, the U.S. Military, and Japan. WildBlue 1 is being built by Space Systems / Loral and launch is anticipated in 2003. WildBlue should have critical first mover advantage, preceding other Ka-band services by at least a year.

  • Capacity expands when WildBlue 2 (the Ka-band payload on Telesat's ANIK F2 satellite), being built by Hughes, launches approximately one year after WildBlue 1.

iSKY (formerly KaSTAR Communication) is now WildBlue ( http://www.wildblue.com/ab/index.htm) and is located at: WildBlue Headquarters 7600 East Orchard Road, Suite 360 NGreenwood Village, CO 80111 Telephone: (720) 554-7400

A $520 million project for two GEO satellites from Lockheed Martin, expected to be operational in 2001 for broadband ATM data, digital video and voice, targeted at the US, Mexico and Caribbean.

Uplink freq: 19.2 to 20.0 GHz
Downlink freq. 29.0 to 30.0GHz
Data rates >1.544 Mbit/s

KaSTAR Satellite Corporation will use Arianspace to launch the satellites with Ariane V launchers. Space Systems/Loral have signed a $300 million agreement to construct the two Ka-band spot beam satellites. The coverage is US, Central and South America, and parts of Europe and Mexico.

9137 East Mineral Circle, Suite 140, Englewood, CO 80112, USA

Program: ISKY

Previously known as KaSTAR Satellite Communications. Shareholders include: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Liberty Media, TV Guide, TRW and EchoStar. In Jun 2001 Telesat Canada announces it holds 20% of the company.

iSKY (formerly KaSTAR Satellite Communications) received $50 million in second-round funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, TV Guide and Liberty Media.  The company hopes to provide two-way, broadband satellite service supporting 1.5 Mbps Internet services beginning in 2001 using a Ka-band satellite serving North America and Latin America.  The company said it now has raised nearly one-third of money needed for the project.  Space Systems/Loral is the prime satellite contractor for construction of its first satellite.   http://www.isky.net/
iSky, January 18, 2000

From the KaStar web site Feb 2000: KaSTAR Satellite Communications Corporation ("KaSTAR") is a Colorado-based company focused on delivering broadband multi-media communications services, including "Internet by Satellite." KaSTAR plans to build, launch and operate a global, ka-band satellite system that will provide on-demand, low cost, two-way interactive, broadband services. KaSTAR will deliver bandwidth to end-user service providers initially throughout North, Central and South America and subsequently around the world, augmenting terrestrial and broadcast satellite networks.

KaSTAR’s target end-customers are residential and small office users who desire broadband communications services at affordable prices. KaSTAR's broadband services may be delivered through the TV, PC or other devices. KaSTAR’s technical competitive advantage is based primarily on the innovative combination of three compelling elements: First, KaSTAR will employ a derivative of the world standard protocol for cable modems. This feature provides economies of scale and compatibility as well as a reduction in customer equipment cost. Second, the Company’s satellites will provide on-board processing and packet switching, which allow for flexibility, efficient capacity utilization through statistical multiplexing and ultimately more users per satellite and thus lower cost per user. Finally, the utilization of a large number of small spot beams (versus a single CONUS beam in conventional satellites) provides a large degree of frequency reuse providing greater capacity from the satellite asset resulting in additional cost savings per user.

KaSTAR’s first phase will include the launch and deployment of two satellites at 109.2 and 73 degrees west longitude. These two satellites will reach all of North, Central and South America as well as link to Europe.

 In mid-1997, KaSTAR selected and contracted with Space Systems/Loral as the prime satellite contractor for construction of two satellites. This contract was valued by Loral at approximately $300 million and includes a commitment for $25 million of vendor financing. In August 1998, United Video Satellite Group (primarily owned by Liberty Media and News Corp. and now called TV Guide, Inc.) made a strategic investment in KaSTAR. In May, 1999, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers a world leading Internet based venture firm made an equity investment in KaSTAR.

KaSTAR’s use of on-board packet switching, cable modem earth terminal technology, and an operating strategy to partner with network and service providers creates a unique service offering and will position KaSTAR as a world leader in the next wave of interactive, broadband, last mile satellite communications providers.

Updated: March 2002

Back to Main Menu