Interviewed by P.J. Waldt, Associate Editor, SatMagazine
Antenna Technology Communications, inc., known as ACTi, is a private company based in Chandler, Arizona that was started in 1990. Gary Hatch, the companys President and CEO, has analyzed the satcom and electronic media industries since 1981. Gary has extensive domestic and international experience in satcom, cable TV, broadband, telephone, Internet and the broadcast entertainment industries.
He was also President and CEO of ATCis predecessor company, ATC, a satellite-engineering firm. In 1997, he negotiated a buyout of ATC. Gary became the principal shareholder of the newly formed ACTi, until a recent, major investment infusion that he brought to the table. He has served as an international executive and engineer for Motorola and Telecommunications Inc. / Liberty Media, as a board member for World Teleport Association (WTA), Society for Satellite Professionals (SSPI), Near Earth Investment Bankers and Skyway Connect.
Gary, its a pleasure to be able to chat with you today. Would you offer our readers some ATCis history? Id also be interested in the evolution of what has occurred for your company.
The companys original roots are in antenna RF development systems that were geared toward government and military applications. During that time period, government systems and defense budgets were being cut back. ATCi immediately began evolving its product to meet the needs of additional markets.
Simultaneously the CATV and broadcast industries were in the process of using satellites for content distribution. We converted one of our products that was originally created for government systems and transformed it into to a commercial package, The Simulsat Multibeam. Simulsat and related equipment have the capacity to receive signals from 35 satellites at the same time.
Over time, the Simulsat package has truly become a workhorse for the satellite processing of digital carriers throughout the world. Simulsat and related products are incorporated into key systems in most of the large cable systems and broadcasting operations throughout the U.S. ATCis Simulsat continues to be a tremendous insurance offering for these operators. This is because as new satellites launch, new programming options appear, or existing satellites are movedall thats required with Simulsat is a simple change to any one of the (35) feed locations to make the necessary connections.
Could you give us a rundown of ATCis current portfolio of products and services?
In addition to Simulsat, ATCi designs and manufactures products and services offering customers expanded capacity, design excellence and value. Those products include: uplinks, flyaway systems, teleports, headend components, antennas, test equipment, matrix switches, and satcom fiber optics solutions. Because of our low product acquisition cost, quality flyaway and uplink systems, ATCi is becoming known as The Turn-key Uplink System Provider, as we also offer several unique packages to meet customers needs.
In addition, we were recently licensed to integrate a satellite backhaul telecom network throughout Iraq. We provided a fully redundant, state-of-the-art, modern GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network. This installation has become the widest reaching mobile telecommunication network in the country and provides services to approximately 3,250,000 customers. We are also currently involved in numerous similar GSM backhaul projects throughout EMEA.
The Warrior Monitoring System, our most recent product package addition, is designed to meet the ever increasing and unique requirements of government and military entities. This system is able to simultaneously process surveillance of thousands of RF carriersX-, C-, Ka- and Ku-band. With the Warriors comprehensive satellite reception and transmission capabilities, customers can monitor, archive, broadcast and decipher more than 70 satellites (140 degrees) simultaneously from anywhere in the world, to anywhere in the world.
Given the length of time ACTi has been in operation, your firm must have dealt with a number of customers
who, would you say, are ATCis primary customers?
ATCis primary customer base encompasses government, military, cable TV, broadcasters, GSM telephone operators, telecom, education facilities, and various large corporations around the world. Some of our clients are rather diverse, such as The Consejo Hondureño de Ciencia y Tecnología (COHCIT - the Honduras Council of Science and Technology), where we designed, integrated and commissioned RF for an Earth station teleport in that country. This was for a ViaSat VSAT network to enable rural communities to access the Internet and other services. We brought in an 8.1-meter Ku-band antenna and RF full redundant equipment. Then we provided to COCESNA (Corporación Centroamericana de Servicios de Navegación Aérea), who supply air traffic control for Central American countries, a solution for voice and data compression in a VSAT network. This was in Nicaragua. We provided the antennas, RF equipment and voice and data compression in three of the sites
What is the value proposition you see as important for operators in todays markets?
We believe it is important to be prepared for change. This is why we make systems scaleable, as the markets are undergoing continuous change. The only constant we see is change. For example, the Warrior package saves tremendous space and has every feature, advantage, and benefit of a world-class teleport. In these projects, there is a great need to conserve real estate and/or maintain a very low profile. The Warrior package, coupled with its dual, tri-band uplink package, sees well over 70 satellites, while only occupying an area equal in size to that of about five parking spaces. Our objective with the Warrior system is to design in order to bring our customers cost efficiencies at the highest quality, all the while providing technological insurance for their future expansion requirements.
What are some new areas that you see ATCi offering to its customer base? What new markets is ATCi involved in?
Clearly, bringing a vision of how our customers can improve their businesses and operations is our goal in each of our projects. We have found because we are able to offer low-cost, high quality flyaway uplink systems, doors open for new markets that can now afford to backhaul voice, video, and data. In all cases, third-world countries who never believed they could be part of the satellite miracle suddenly are able to access and use technology that was previously unavailable. To help evoke positive change is truly exciting.
Accordingly, our experience with customized, disaster recovery mobile systems within U.S. sectors have now allowed us to offer our communication products to many critical path communication applications needs around the world. As a result, we are opening offices in the Middle East and Asia to provide even closer contact with customers and to supply their vitally needed equipment and services. We are eager to bring enthusiasm and innovation to global markets where satellite technologies can provide effective solutions to improve communication infrastructures.
Thanks, Gary. We wish you and your company continued success.