Interview with Bob Baker of Vizada, Inc.

Earlier this month SATCOM Frontier spoke with Bob Baker, CEO of Vizada, Inc., a leading provider of satellite-based communications services. We spoke with Bob about the Navy’s Commercial Broadband Satellite Program (CBSP), and issues facing commercial SATCOM providers. Intelsat General and Vizada partner together on CBSP for the United States Navy.


SF: First off, please give our readers some background on Vizada.

Baker: Throughout Vizada’s corporate history, we have been a central figure in the commercial satellite services industry since its inception in the early 1960s, providing mobile satellite communications to government and commercial customers operating in all parts of the world.  In December 2011, Vizada was acquired by Astrium Services (part of EADS), a company that pioneered the concept of commercially supplied military-hardened SATCOM service and — through its business unit Paradigm – owns and operates networks such as the U.K. Skynet MILSATCOM network.  This includes all aspects of service delivery, satellite control and network management.

Today, Astrium delivers a full portfolio of end-to-end fixed (X-Band, C-Band, Ku-Band and Ka-Band) and mobile satellite solutions (Inmarsat, Thuraya and Iridium) to the U.S. Government and its Allied Partners.  For the North American market, Astrium has designated Vizada Inc. the exclusive reseller of Astrium satcom services – including all Paradigm solutions.   

SF: How is Vizada currently supporting CBSP?

Baker: As Paradigm’s channel to the US Government, Vizada is a 100-person operation located in Rockville, Maryland and an integral member of the CBSP project team led by Intelsat General.  Vizada’s focus is to ensure that SPAWAR can count on us to deliver the highest service quality available as well as the flexibility they need maximizing  Skynet’s service options, security levels and near global coverage. 

SF: How have you found working with IGC as a partner on CBSP?

Bob: Vizada and IGC are highly compatible organizations sharing the same corporate enthusiasm and commitment to providing first-rate solutions such as those supporting CBSP.  IGC is a dynamic, customer responsive, knowledgeable partner to work with.  We are fortunate to have such a strong and longstanding (over 15 years) teaming partner and look forward to more strategic projects to partner on in the future.    

SF:What are the biggest issues facing government SATCOM in the next 12-18 months?

Baker:  Several keyissues facing the USGare the changing theatres of operation, the increasing demand for capacity and service options as well as the need to employ commercial satellite operators in order to meet serious new fiscal constraints.   

The current decline in SATCOM requirements due to USG troop withdrawals in Afghanistan will be more than offset by the substantial growth in ISR requirements and related new service offerings required to support new mission environments in other parts of world. These new service requirements will force the USG to procure capacity on commercial satellite networks to supplement the ever shrinking capacity available on military networks.

Defense Secretary Panetta’s recent remarks on the shift of Naval focus to the Pacific Fleet is an example of that change creating a logistical reshuffle for the Department of Defense.   With the integration of Paradigm solutions into our portfolio of satcom offerings, Vizada is now positioned better than ever to support the USG’s evolving SATCOM needs.   

Another effect on the USG’s near term planning and decision making are fiscal budget constraints which have led Government agencies to reconsider their process for SATCOMs acquisition.  The USG is adopting a policy that will force more reliance on commercial satellite operator capacity. Vizada’s parent, Astrium Services, has invested $3B in the Skynet-5 satellite constellation to help us meet the USG’s need for bandwidth from commercial satellite provider.

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