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PROFILE: Rob Bednarek

Feb 4, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Title: Executive vice president and chief technology officer of PanAmSat Corp., a provider of global video and data broadcasting services via satellite. PanAmSat’s Webcast Services, formerly known as NET-36, provides a satellite-based Internet broadcast network that leverages the company’s global satellite fleet and video broadcast services.
Background: Prior to joining PanAmSat full time in 1990, Mr. Bednarek was a partner and vice president of the Washington-based engineering consulting firm Rubin, Bednarek and Associates. While with the company, he consulted on the formation and launch of PanAmSat.
About the name change: “We branded it NET-36 because in the late 1990s there were obscene valuations placed on Internet companies. So we set it up to be a separate branded service, and we were on our way to setting it up to be a separate subsidiary of our company. … It’s now a part of our overall infrastructure here. When we call on one of our big video customers, we’re able to sell them bandwidth on the satellite, we can sell transmission services, we can sell the broadcast services. Now we can sell streaming services if they’re interested in that type of distribution arrangement.”
Competition: “There are relatively few people trying to do multicast streaming to edge servers. We’re one of them. Akamai claims to be doing streaming, but as far as I know, they don’t have a satellite component, so I’m not quite sure how they’re doing it. We are the only satellite company that I know of that is doing this. There are some other start-ups that come and go … but in terms of satellite operators, I think we’re the only one offering this value-added service.”
Future: “I think it’ll go a lot like [how] the cable TV industry was built. Originally you had 12-channel cable systems, of which three channels were active. Then people came up with some programming to fill the other channels. The next time you built a cable system, you built it with 30 channels and then 100 channels. You have much the same process going on here. So a company that has a long-term core business that supports video distribution-we have contracts that extend 10 to 15 years from now. So we’re going to be here as this thing develops. And provided you’re prudent and you pace yourself, I see nothing but growth ahead.”