Survey Finds Satellite Internet Essential for Tele-health Services, Work-from-Home Applications and General Communications During Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic

Viasat Inc., a global communications company, revealed results from its 2021 consumer connectivity survey showing the role satellite-based connectivity has played in keeping Americans connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The survey findings, which leveraged Qualtrics data from over 1,000 household internet users living and working across the U.S., cited:

  • Satellite-based tele-health services were widely used during the pandemic, with many respondents planning their continued use in a post-pandemic world. 
    • 87% of respondents used tele-health applications and/or services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • 35% of rural-based respondents participated in tele-health appointments for the first time. Of those respondents, 48% plan to use tele-health applications and services more regularly in the future.
  • Respondents felt they could work-from-home using satellite internet, even after the pandemic.  
    • 66% of rural-based respondents indicated they are planning to work-from-home post-pandemic, if given the opportunity by their employer.
    • When asked to rank the most important business applications they used while working remotely, respondents highlighted email (29%) as the most important application, followed by video calls (21%), large document uploads (15%), large document downloads (15%), instant messaging (11%), VPN (8%) and other services (2%).
  • The most essential internet activity during the ongoing pandemic has been email.
    • According to survey results, email (26%) was the most important internet activity used during the pandemic, followed by browsing (20%), streaming video (11%), social media (9%), sharing pictures (8%), uploading/downloading files (7%), teleconferencing (6%), online school tools (4%), streaming radio (3%), online gaming (3%), VPN (2%) and other services (1%).

Steven Mesnick, chief marketing officer of Viasat’s Global Fixed Broadband business commented, “The survey is a reminder that as people navigate the current and post-pandemic world, having access to reliable connectivity—even in the hardest-to-reach locations across the U.S.—is essential for connecting patients with doctors, employees with colleagues and families from anywhere. The high-value of ensuring more people can connect to more online services is a key reason why we continue to invest in bringing better satellite systems to market, like our next-generation satellite constellation, ViaSat-3. When this system goes into consumer service, we will be able to deliver significantly faster speeds, more data and enhanced streaming capabilities from space—all of which we will be testing later this year in preparation for the ViaSat-3 launch.”

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Viasat is committed to delivering more bandwidth, speeds and data to its residential customers. During the pandemic, the Company implemented multiple optimization and web acceleration techniques to mitigate network congestion by prioritizing critical business, health and education applications to get preferential access compared to other non-essential high-bandwidth traffic. These efforts have helped the Company receive various accolades by consumer outlets including being named the ‘Best Satellite Provider’ among U.S. rural internet service providers (ISPs) by CNET and receiving the Best Satellite Internet Speed designation by ZDNet.