Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), a provider of broadband satellite networks and services has confirmed that it has been awarded $58.7 million as the only national provider of high-speed satellite Internet service under The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and administered by the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS). This award is part of the government's investments in broadband projects to bring jobs and economic opportunity to communities nationwide. The high-speed Internet infrastructure will help bridge the technological divide in communities that are being left in the 20th century economy and support improvements in education, healthcare, and public safety.

Pradman Kaul, chief executive officer of Hughes, issued a statement thanking the U.S. government and reaffirming the company's long-term commitment to provide high-speed Internet service to rural communities across the United States. "We congratulate USDA's Rural Utilities Service under the leadership of Jonathan Adelstein in recognizing the essential role that satellite plays in bridging the digital divide in America, and are proud to be selected as the primary mover to make our high-speed Internet access available to the millions of unserved consumers and small businesses across the country," said Kaul.

According to a recent report from the FCC, an estimated 14-24 million American households and small businesses do not have access to broadband connectivity via land-based services. Having long ago recognized this disparity, Hughes pioneered the development of affordable high-speed satellite Internet access, and today leads the market with over 540,000 subscribers on its nationwide HughesNet service. The company will apply this award to accelerate the take-up by eligible new HughesNet subscribers.

According to Kaul, "Hughes has made huge investments in our broadband business in the belief that every American, regardless of where they live, should have an opportunity to participate in the digital world. We are honored to have been awarded this leadership role in this critical U.S. government program."

Hughes is the world's largest provider of satellite broadband services and technology to businesses, governments and consumers, delivering a full spectrum of solutions and applications, from high-speed Internet access, to distance learning, telemedicine, and broadband-on-planes, trains, and boats. Hughes operates on multiple satellites globally, including its award-winning SPACEWAY® 3 satellite, the world's first with on-board switching and routing, and which is used to deliver the highest speed satellite Internet plans available in North America. Hughes continues to invest significantly in satellite broadband, most recently through a major commitment to build and launch its next-generation JUPITER(TM) high-throughput satellite -- a platform with over 100 times the capacity of today's conventional satellites, and which will be launched in 2012 to bring high-speed Internet service to millions of subscribers across North America.