Connected at Sea: Inmarsat’s New High-Speed Broadband Service Hits 10,000-Ship Milestone

gCaptain
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May 4, 2017

Global satellite provider Inmarsat has announces its new Fleet Xpress service has commitments to connect more than 10,000 ships at sea with high-speed broadband service within its first year of service.

The Fleet Xpress service launched in March 2016 promising a “new era” in maritime satellite communications and guaranteed high-speed connectivity from anywhere on the world’s oceans. The service is the first globally available, high-speed broadband service for maritime and offshore operators available from a single communications provider.

Inmarsat says the 10,000-ship milestone was achieved through contracts with individual ship owners, commitments from strategic Partners, and transitioning agreements with existing Inmarsat customers.

“The demand for Fleet Xpress has been unprecedented since its launch at the end of March 2016, demonstrating that the market has been truly ready for the connected ship and the network supporting maritime business applications” said Ronald Spithout, President Inmarsat Maritime.

Fleet Xpress is based on Inmarsat’s new Global Xpress (GX) satellite constellation, formed of three Ka-band, high-speed mobile broadband communications satellites, each having a commercial life of 15 years. The GX network first achieved global coverage in December 2017. This past January, Inmarsat said the service hit speeds of 330 Mbps during live satellite tests.   

“Crew welfare and operational efficiency are at the heart of the award-winning service, which is why shipping is coming to see high-speed and continuous connectivity plus exceptional and guaranteed performance across the world’s oceans as imperatives, rather than aspirations.”

The 10,000-ship milestone comes after a series of agreements to integrate Fleet Xpress into the portfolios of existing Partners, including Navarino, Speedcast, Marlink and Tototheo Group. Inmarsat is also transitioning more than 2,600 XpressLink installations to Fleet Xpress and will convert clients previously scheduled for connection to XpressLink by the end of 2018 to Fleet Xpress.

“The shift to Fleet Xpress is becoming decisive, consolidating Inmarsat’s position as the global maritime sector’s connectivity leader, a market ranking it has held for over 35 years,” said Spithout. “The last 12 months have demonstrated that shipping has rightly adopted a sense of entitlement to continuous connectivity, guaranteed performance, controlled costs, fully managed support and the benefits of maritime business applications.”

In addition to the Fleet Xpress service, Inmarsat is also in the advanced stages of developing its own cyber security solution, helping customers to become more cyber resilient while adopting the Internet of Things and the benefits of Big Data aboard their fleet.

“Given the appetite for Fleet Xpress one year after launch, our commitment is focused on ensuring that the connected ship’s efficiency and crew welfare gains are as widely available and easy to implement as possible, within a highly secure service network environment,” said Spithout.

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