Inmarsat delivers Antarctic maritime connectivity

24 February 2016 | Jason McGee-Abe

Satellite service provider Inmarsat, along with Global Marine Networks and Network Innovations, has completed a maritime milestone by delivering a successful trial of Fleet Xpress in Antarctic waters.

Fleet Xpress, the hybrid Ka and L-band service using Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network, delivers the world’s first globally available high-speed broadband service from a single network operator.

The solution was successfully trialled on board the adventure cruise ship Ocean Nova, helping to deliver robust communications in one of the most hostile environments on the planet.

“Our customers rely on us to provide cutting-edge satellite services,” said Dr Luis Soltero, CTO of Global Marine Networks, which offers a range of internet-based services, hardware and software to commercial clients. Commenting on the challenging Antarctica conditions, he added that it was one of the world’s most difficult areas for most satellite systems, requiring low-horizon satellite views through heavy cloud cover and precipitation.

“This trial marks another important milestone for the launch of Fleet Xpress. By testing Fleet Xpress in such harsh conditions we are pushing the boundaries of what we can offer,” said Ronald Spithout, president of Inmarsat Maritime. 

“Fleet Xpress is set to redefine maritime communications and will transform the way vessels are managed and optimised throughout the globe. We are thrilled that Nova Cruising Ltd have chosen to rely on and invest in Fleet Xpress with a commercial order for the rest of their fleet.”

In this trial, Network Innovations, one of Inmarsat’s first value-added resellers of Fleet Xpress, was able to provide its expertise and support to Global Marine Networks and the crew of the Ocean Nova which used a Cobham SAILOR 100GX antenna. Eric Verheylewegen, vice president and general manager of Network Innovations commented that Fleet Xpress enabled passengers and crew to conduct daily communication activities beyond our expectations in this extreme location.

As a result of the successful results, Verheylewegen said: “They have decided to install Fleet Xpress, we could not be more satisfied with the results.”

The news comes one year after Inmarsat had announced that it had set its sights on launching a global connectivity solution to support the maritime industry.