Hughes Communications

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Hughes Communications, Inc.
Founded 1971; 47 years ago (1971)
Headquarters Germantown, Maryland, United States
Area served
Key people
Pradman Kaul
(Chairman, President and CEO)
Services Global communications
Revenue $1.39 billion (2016)[1]
Number of employees
4,000 (2016)[1]
Parent EchoStar
Subsidiaries Hughes Network Systems

Hughes Communications is a wholly owned subsidiary of EchoStar, headquartered in Germantown, Maryland. It provides satellite-based internet and television services under the HughesNet brand through satellites and satellite dishes it designs and manufactures. Hughes Communications was founded in 1971 in a garage in Rockville, Maryland. The company was sold to Microwave Associates in 1977, forming a combined entity called Macom Technology Solutions (MA/COM). MA/COM was then sold to Hughes Aircraft Company, which spun MA/COM off as a public company called Hughes Communications in 2007. EchoStar acquired Hughes Communications in 2011 for about $2 billion.

Corporate history

Hughes Communications was founded under the name Digital Communication Corp. in 1971.[2] The company was started by seven engineers and a lawyer who all previously worked together at Comsat Laboratories.[3] It started in a garage in Rockville, Maryland with $40,000 in startup capital.[3][4] Initially, the company designed circuit boards unrelated to satellite communications[3] then got its start providing internet connections to small businesses, like gas stations, in remote areas.[5]

By 1977, Digital Communications Corp. had 250 employees and $10.6 million in revenue.[6] In 1978, Digital Communications Corp. was acquired by Microwave Associates for an undisclosed sum.[6][a] The combined entity was called MA/COM with satellite technology from Digital Communications Corp. and microwave-based communications technologies from Microwave Associates.[7] MA/COM was bought in turn by Hughes Aircraft Co. in 1987 for $105 million and the Digital Communications division was named Hughes Communications.[8]

In 2004, News Corp acquired a controlling interest in Hughes Communications through a $6.5 billion purchase intended primarily for the DirecTV unit.[2] DirecTV also began selling off its ownership interests, culminating in a $100 million sale to a private equity firm.[2] As a result, Hughes became a wholly owned subsidiary of SkyTerra Communications Inc., which was controlled by the investment firm.[2] Hughes Communications was spun-off as an independent public company in 2007, then acquired by EchoStar for about $2 billion in 2011.[9][b]

Products and services

Hughes Communications designs, builds, and launches satellites used for DirecTV television programming and the company's own HughesNet internet subscription service.[11] As of 2017, Hughes Communications controls 60 percent of the market for residential satellite-based internet connections, which are mostly used by rural customers out-of-reach of wired infrastructure.[12] Hughes also markets its services to government, business, and military,[13] but 80% of its customers are consumers.[5]

DirecPC, a predecessor to HughesNet, was introduced in 1996.[14] It was followed by DIRECWAY in May 2002.[15] This was followed by HughesNet Gen 4 in 2012.[16] In March 2017, Hughes became the first satellite-based internet provider to meet the Federal Communications Commission's definition of "broadband" with HughesNet Gen 5[12] after launching the Echostar XIX satellite to support it.[17]


  1. ^ Another sources says it was $8 million[7]
  2. ^ another source says $1.3 billion[10]



  1. ^ a b EchoStar Corporation 2016 Annual Report (PDF), EchoStar, retrieved January 30, 2018
  2. ^ a b c d McCarthy, Ellen (November 11, 2005). "DirecTV to Sell Hughes Investment". Washington Post. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Mills, Mike (August 25, 1997). "The Sky's the Limit for Hughes". The Washington Post.
  4. ^ Shay, Kevin James (January 20, 2011). "EchoStar closes on $2B purchase of Hughes Communications of Germantown". The Gazette. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Belson, Ken (November 14, 2006). "With a Dish, Broadband Goes Rural". The New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Digital Firm Purchased". The Washington Post. February 23, 1978.
  7. ^ a b Rosenberg, Ronald (November 18, 1990). "Motivating M/A Com". Boston Globe.
  8. ^ "Hughes to Buy IBM Satellite Leasing Operation". The Los Angeles Times. July 8, 1989. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  9. ^ "EchoStar To Buy Hughes Communications For $2 Billion". Forbes. February 14, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  10. ^ Merced, Michael J. de la (February 15, 2011). "EchoStar in $1.3 Billion Deal for Hughes Communications". DealBook. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  11. ^ Ing, E. (2013). Satellite Communications Pocket Book. Butterworth-Heinemann Book. Elsevier Science. p. 124. ISBN 978-1-4832-9208-3. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Hughes signs deal to launch 100Mbps satellite Internet service in 2021". Ars Technica. August 15, 2017. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  13. ^ "Managed Networks and Satellite Technologies". HUGHES. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  14. ^ "Hughes Hasn't Been This Sexy Since... Thanks to DirecTV, its satellite broadcast service, Hughes Electronics morphed from a defense giant into a white-hot media property. Will Rupert Murdoch get his wish to buy it? - February 5, 2001". Fortune. February 5, 2001. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  15. ^ Wireless Satellite & Broadcasting. May 2002. p. 7. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  16. ^ "Hughes updates its HughesNet satellite broadband with Gen4 service". Engadget. September 1, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  17. ^ "HughesNet Quadruples Satellite ISP Data Caps". PC Magazine. March 16, 2017. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  18. ^ Hugesnet Company ' HughesNet Customer Service Partner '

External links

  • Official Website
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