Viasat has been named to the 2019 Fortune Change the World list, a global ranking of top companies making a positive social impact through activities that are integral to their core business strategies and operations. Viasat ranked number 12 on the list, and was selected for its ability to bring digital and social inclusion to the world through its innovative satellite connectivity systems.
Mark Dankberg, chairman and chief executive officer at Viasat, said, “We’re pleased to be recognized by Fortune on their 2019 Change the World list. We have an opportunity to apply our unique skills to help address one of the most important challenges of our time – bringing affordable, abundant, broadband connectivity to the most challenging places in the world. Delivering broadband anywhere means re-imagining not only the way space systems are conceived, designed and built, but also overcoming myriad physical distribution, logistics and technology adoption hurdles here on earth. That same combination of disruptive space technology and entrepreneurial drive that is fueling Viasat’s rapid growth and re-defining in-flight connectivity for air travel can enable people and communities that have been on the wrong side of the digital divide to benefit from online resources in telemedicine, education, e-commerce, employment, banking and more.”
Connecting the unconnected
Viasat was first to launch a highly-scalable satellite-enabled Community Wi-Fi hotspot initiative, that brings high-speed, affordable Wi-Fi directly to consumer’s mobile devices in rural and remote towns and communities. The Viasat service requires minimal local infrastructure, is economically self-sustaining and rapidly deployable in remote places where terrestrial fixed and wireless services struggle to perform, or may never reach.
Since the initiative’s launch, Viasat has brought Community Wi-Fi connectivity to people in Mexico and Brazil, with near term plans to expand into other countries globally. Specifically in Mexico, Viasat’s Community Wi-Fi service is now within reach of more than 1.7 million people in unserved and underserved communities—delivering speeds of up to 100 Megabits per second—at prices as low as 50 cents per hour. Today the Viasat Community Wi-Fi service leverages the world’s highest capacity satellite, ViaSat-2 in Mexico and a partner satellite enabled by Viasat’s ground network infrastructure in Brazil. Viasat is currently building a global constellation of three ultra-high-bandwidth satellites, known as the ViaSat-3 class of satellites – dedicated to delivering the most bandwidth to places with the greatest demand, at the lowest cost.
From corporate strategy to employee engagement, social impact is core to Viasat’s culture
In addition to delivering on business results, Viasat also places an emphasis on delivering social good through its many employee-driven social impact programs. For example, the Company encourages skills-based volunteering programs—especially using technology and connectivity to help places and people-in-need recover, rebuild and leverage online resources. Viasat’s most recent initiative focused on helping Puerto Rican citizens rebuild their personal and professional lives after Hurricanes Maria, Harvey and Irma left the island in devastation. As part of this program, Viasat employee-volunteers helped set up “Innovation Hubs” in Puerto Rican communities, enabling the local community citizens—of which about 70% lacked home internet access—to participate in employee-led workshops, online skill-building and educational activities. More information on this initiative can be found on Viasat’s corporate blog.
About Fortune’s annual Change the World list
Fortune’s annual Change the World list is intended to showcase the power of capitalism to improve the human condition by identifying companies that have made an important social or environmental impact through their profit-making strategy and operations. Companies are ranked on each of four criteria: measurable social impact, business results, degree of innovation and corporate integration.
Each year, Fortune looks for new companies with recent impact. The initial solicitation and assessment of nominees is conducted in partnership with the Shared Value Initiative, a global platform for organizations seeking business solutions to social challenges, and FSG, a nonprofit social-impact consulting firm. A team of journalists from Fortune then investigate each of the candidates independently. The final list is selected and ranked by the editors of Fortune based on the magazine’s own reporting and analysis.