Hughes Communications is about to make my life so much easier. Let me explain. My mom lives in rural Northwest Washington state, where the biggest development each time I visit is the location of the newest clear-cut. It’s rural. Very, very rural. My normally timid retired mother has learned to drive like a bat out of heck on roads that curve violently around the hills and mountains. When I’m with her in the car, I clutch the door frame and pray.
Yet when it comes to Internet service at her house, it’s always been dial-up…excruciatingly slow dial-up. Nothing else was available. (No broadband provider was crazy enough to string a cable from her clutch of homes to the nearest small city, 35 miles away.) I love my mom, but dial-up makes me want to scratch out my eyes.
Behold, the coming of Hughes Communications to her forested neighborhood. Based in Germantown, Maryland, Hughes provides just the type of services my mom desperately needs: Internet service via satellite to rural areas where other broadband options aren’t available. She’d been talking generically about satellite for a while, but then it happened. We were chatting on the phone this week, and suddenly she said to me, “Well, we got HughesNet up and running.”
“Wait,” I say, “You mean, you really got satellite Internet? Finally? I can send you big files—with pictures, and videos, and…” I continued to sputter in excitement. And anything larger than 48K, I’m thinking to myself. Geez, her old system was so slow. And now when I visit her little paradise near the Pacific Ocean, I can enjoy the same high-speed luxury as when I’m ensconced in my suburban DC office. Now you understand why I am worshiping Hughes Communications like a forbidden idol.
Providing broadband service to consumers like my mom as well as small businesses is, in fact, the firm’s fastest-growing segment. Currently, however, it derives most of its revenue by managing satellite networks for national companies with a multitude of locations and providing government services.
Hughes’s growth since its founding in 1971 has led it to be the 35th largest public company in the greater DC region, according to The Post 200, a report published by The Washington Post. That’s based on 2006 revenues, which totaled $858.7 million. The company moved successfully to the Nasdaq in 2006 after going through a change in ownership.
Hughes announced three executive appointments to its board in June of this year. All hold the title of director:
- Stephen Clark—venture partner with Intersouth Partners
- O. Gene Gabbard—private investor; telecom industry
- Lawrence Ruisi—advisory consultant; entertainment industry
Pradman Kaul is president and CEO of Hughes Communications, as well as chairman and CEO of Hughes Network Systems, its operational subsidiary. Grant Barber serves as the executive vice president and CFO for both organizations.
Now…do you think they’d like to visit the “other” Washington? I could take them on a tour of the newest and greatest clear-cuts. Then we could all get online in my mom’s living room and actually watch a streaming video. Amazing…