Inmarsat announced that its FleetBroadband service, launched in November 2007, now has more than 1,000 activated terminals in the market.
With broadband speeds of up to 432kbps, a voice service at landline quality, and a simultaneous voice and data capability that supports multiple calls and data connections, demand by the maritime industry has been stronger than expected.
Last week, A. P. Moller – Maersk, one of the world’s largest shipping companies, signed a contract with Marlink for a large-scale retrofit of Inmarsat FleetBroadband across its Maersk Supply Service and Maersk Tankers Fleet. The two-year retrofit programme is believed to be the largest in the history of maritime satellite communications, with over 150 vessels being converted to FleetBroadband in the first phase.
Many of Inmarsat’s maritime evaluations on FleetBroadband are now complete and have been highly successful. The 26,718 GRT Marianne Schulte, one of 40 container vessels owned and operated by BSG, was the first container vessel in the world to trial FleetBroadband. Another early adopter was Louisiana-based Harvey Gulf International Marine, which owns and operates the largest ocean-going towing vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. Both the Royal Netherlands Navy and the Finnish Navy have evaluated FleetBroadband during operations and, according to the test results, the data and speech connections fulfilled the demanding needs of the Navy.
Commenting on passing the milestone, Piers Cunningham, Head of Maritime Business at Inmarsat, said: “Since we launched FleetBroadband, less than a year ago, the take-up has beaten our expectations..”
However, Nadeem Khan, Solutions Development Manager at Inmarsat also says, “The service is gaining rapid market acceptance among our maritime customers. It is used by the world’s most respected shipping companies, and we’ve had excellent feedback. FleetBroadband is well on its way to becoming established as the communications service of choice for the merchant market.”