By: MarkJ - 9 August, 2010 (12:17 AM)
Inmarsat UK satellite broadband ISPInmarsat, a UK Satellite broadband ISP and communications operator, has announced the signing of a major new contract with Boeing for the delivery of three state-of-the-art Ka-Band (702HP) satellites. The new additions are capable of offering live television and "super-fast" internet download speeds of up to 50Mbps (Megabits per second) to both ships at sea and airliners.

The satellites will make up a new Inmarsat-5 (I-5) constellation and should enter operation sometime in 2014, forming part of the groups new Global Xpress™ network. The service will cost £750m ($1.2bn) to develop and target an £880m (US$1.4bn) incremental market for VSAT services.

Boeing itself will become a key distribution partner for Inmarsat's Ka-band and L-band satellite services, committing itself to a capacity purchase for over 10% of the target Ka-band revenues. Inmarsat has set its target at £314m (US$500m) for five years after the new service is launched.

Chairman and CEO of Inmarsat, Andrew Sukawaty, said:

"This is a new investment for growth. With the Global Xpress network, we will be the first operator to offer global broadband coverage, offering unparalleled speeds and bandwidth to customers in remote locations around the world.

Global Xpress will be faster and less expensive than current Ku-band market offerings, it will be delivered to smaller and cheaper terminals and be the first offered on a seamless, global, end-to-end basis with high-quality of service. Picture 50Mpbs services to a ship or aircraft, and 10Mpbs to an antenna the size of an iPad (20cm).

The Inmarsat-5s will also complement our existing global L-band services, allowing us to offer unique hybrid packages using both networks, giving users unprecedented levels of resilience and reliability in remote and harsh environments."

The move represents a significant upgrade for Inmarsat, which currently offers the only simultaneous global voice and 0.5Mbps data service available anywhere on the planet, using satellite terminals the size of laptops.

Inmarsat also recently won Britain's biggest prize in engineering innovation - The Royal Academy of Engineering's MacRobert Award (June 2010 news) - for its "groundbreaking" Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN).

Another UK Satellite operator, Avanti Communications, also has plans for a future 50Mbps service (HERCULES). However it is presently more focused, like Eutelsat, upon getting its latest up to 8Mbps capable broadband satellite into the sky before the end of this year.
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