Viasat moves into new Dublin offices with room for 250 people.
At least 100 new jobs are to be created by broadband satellite player Viasat in Dublin over the next few years.
The company, which already employs 95 people in Dublin, has moved into new offices that have capacity for up to 250 staff.
‘Most of what we will be doing in Dublin will be engineering. Our plan is to launch new satellites that will cover EMEA, and this team is getting prepared for those launches’
– RICK BALDRIDGE
From the Dublin offices, the company will design, support and manage new satellite launches.
The global communications company’s president and chief operations officer, Rick Baldridge, told Siliconrepublic.com that the Dublin team will be focused on developing next-generation software and technology for specific Viasat target markets that encompass everything from consumer broadband to industry-specific satellites for oil and gas, as well as the internet of things (IoT).
The sky’s the limit for 1Gbps broadband vision
Minister of State John Halligan, TD, said: “I am pleased to see the prominent role the European Space Agency (ESA) and IDA Ireland can play in supporting the growth of companies like Viasat throughout Europe. Ireland is a region where companies can thrive through fostering ongoing research and innovation.”
Viasat expects to more than double its headcount in Dublin over the next few years. It will extend development beyond connected aircraft software to include broader software and mobile application support for international maritime customers, European residential broadband and Wi-Fi markets, and government systems. This also includes support for Viasat’s next-generation ultra-high-capacity satellite platform, known as Viasat-3.
Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland, said: “Viasat’s decision to establish this European software centre of excellence in Dublin is an endorsement of the talent pool and business environment here.”
The Dublin office is the latest in a series of expansions by Viasat, which came to the city through the acquisition of Irish company Arconics in 2016, with Viasat taking on 30 staff from Arconics in the process.
In March 2018, Viasat announced the development of a new phased array flat panel antenna at its office in Lausanne, Switzerland.
In December 2017, Viasat also opened an Amsterdam office as a research and development centre dedicated to the development of satellite access node subsystems, embedded cloud-based software and ground segment infrastructure for the Viasat-3 satellite platform.
Over the past two years, Viasat signed up a number of commercial airline customers, including El Al Israel Airlines, Finnair, Icelandair and SAS. The company is also delivering aviation-grade software to a number of European airlines, including Aer Lingus and Ryanair.
Speaking with Siliconrepublic.com, Baldridge said the company is also developing base array antennas for Airbus.
“Most of what we will be doing in Dublin will be engineering. Our plan is to launch new satellites that will cover EMEA, and this team is getting prepared for those launches.”
Baldridge said the launch of each satellite goes alongside the launch of an entire business unit. “Sales and business, logics management and engineering. We are not just launching satellites, we are starting businesses with them.
“These could encompass IoT, dense urban spaces and outside urban spaces where LTE and 5G normally play but where satellite is the most capital-efficient way of delivering data to connected cars, connected farms and lots of applications.”
He explained that the next iteration of satellites will support applications up to 1Gbps.
Unlike Elon Musk’s SpaceX constellation of satellites approved last week by the FCC, Baldridge said that Viasat’s 1Gbps satellite will be designed to provide high capacity in high-demand areas.
“Elon’s constellation will be spread pretty evenly but ours will be concentrated to support high-capacity applications,” Baldridge explained.
“Speed is one thing but it is really about volume. That’s how we have designed the satellites.
“We are at 95 people in Dublin. We acquired Arconics with 30 people and we have been growing and growing ever since. We are moving to expand to new headquarters with room for 250 people and that will be our limit for now,” said Baldridge.