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The Engadget Interview: ViaSat CEO Mark Dankberg on Exede and the future of in-flight WiFi

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When you think about satellite internet, dismal speeds, ridiculous latency and astronomical fees are likely first to come to mind. But the only technology capable of blanketing our entire planet in connectivity is now able to provide a fast, consistent and affordable experience, thanks to one market-leading company, and the vision and leadership of Mark Dankberg. Launched from Dankberg’s home in Southern California, ViaSat lit up on the map in 1986, and spent the first two decades focused on government and corporate contracts. Last year’s launch of ViaSat-1, however, beamed the company straight toward the top of the North American satellite broadband market, bringing high-speed internet to the rural masses. Pair the company’s Exede household product with airline contracts for in-flight WiFi, and you have one ever-growing infrastructure giant. We sat down with Dankberg — ViaSat’s CEO since inception — at the company’s Carlsbad, California headquarters, learning about the Exede service launch, a portable newsgathering rig and what the future of in-flight WiFi may look like on airlines like JetBlue and United. Join us past the break for the interview in full, and an inside look at how ViaSat plans to transform the entire satellite internet experience.


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