Maritime securityInmarsat launches FleetBroadband

Published 26 November 2007

U.K. satellite company launches first fully IP-based broadband service for ships; service supports simultaneous voice and broadband IP data connectivity at up to 432 kbps

London-based Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT) has launched FleetBroadband, a new voice and high-speed data service for maritime users. The company says the solution is the first fully IP-based service, capable of supporting simultaneous voice and broadband IP data connectivity at up to 432 kbps. The company already has a roster of companies supporting the solution: Approved equipment is available from manufacturers JRC and Thrane & Thrane, with service provided by Bezeq, KDDI, Korea Telecom, MCN, Morsviazsputnik, OTESAT-Maritel, SingTel, Stratos, and Vizada. Inmarsat expects partners to commence terminal shipments in the next few weeks. The broadband service uses the capabilities of the latest-generation satellites, the Inmarsat-4s. The service will initially be available on the two Inmarsat-4 satellites currently in orbit over the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean regions. Following the launch of the third Inmarsat-4, currently planned for April 2008, FleetBroadband will be available globally later that year.

There are two types of FleetBroadband service available:

* FB500 offers standard IP connectivity of up to 432 kbps, with guaranteed or streaming IP data rates of 32, 64, 128, and 256 kbps. It also supports 64 kbps ISDN connectivity for legacy applications. The above-deck dome diameter is around 57 cm and weighs about 18 kg.

* FB250 offers a standard IP connection of up to 284 kbps, with streaming IP available at 32, 64, and 128 kbps. Its dome diameter is about 25 cm and weighs around 2.5 kg.

Both services support 4 kbps voice, Group 3 fax, and standard 3G SMS functionality.