SES Americom launches Maritime Mobile Broadband

SES AMERICOM launched its Maritime Mobile Broadband (MMB) service, the next generation of broadband data and voice solutions for the maritime market. A complete, end-to-end solution, the MMB service enables telecommunications service providers to offer affordable, “always on” broadband data and voice service to boats and ships throughout the Americas and the Caribbean at service inception.

SES AMERICOM’s MMB service leverages the proven reliability, performance and optimal orbital positions of several satellites in SES’s fleet, currently including AMC-6 and NSS-7. The satellites operate in Ku-band for reliable and cost-effective two-way connectivity, and their orbital locations provide continuous coverage of North America, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. SES AMERICOM has a new satellite, AMC-21, under construction that is expected to become operational in mid-2008. AMC-21 has a special purpose Ku-band antenna that will deliver more powerful services to the Southeastern U.S., Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

In operation, voice and data traffic are uplinked from U.S- based ground stations equipped with ViaSat Inc. ArcLight(R) technology to the SES satellites, which then relay the information to the vessels where it is received by shipboard terminals. The 60cm maritime terminal was jointly developed by KVH Industries and ViaSat specifically for the MMB service and is sold by KVH as the TracPhone V7. The terminal incorporates an antenna and associated equipment, as well as the ViaSat ArcLight spread spectrum modem, and is fully-stabilized, ensuring the antenna remains fixed on the satellites for uninterrupted service. The small size of the KVH TracPhone V7 also makes it easy to install and does not require boat and ship owners to reinforce their vessels or build custom platforms for support. ViaSat’s ArcLight modem uses advanced spread spectrum technologies, enabling two-way Ku-band connectivity while meeting regulatory requirements.

“The need for Internet service does not stop at the shore’s edge, and finding a cost effective way to deliver IP communications to ships at sea fills a critical need for commercial crews and pleasure boaters alike,” said Brent Bruun, SES AMERICOM’s Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives. “Prior to MMB, small boats and fleets were forced to do without Internet connectivity. We developed MMB as an affordable solution that provides high speeds with high reliability so that these smaller vessels can get cutting edge data and voice communications services delivered via our satellite fleet.”

The MMB service provides a true broadband experience, delivering voice and data “downstream” to vessels at up to 2 Mbps and supporting “upstream” data rates from ship-to-shore of as much as 512 Kbps. This performance is more than adequate for high-speed Internet browsing and virtual private networks (VPN), and for supporting multiple simultaneous lines of IP-based telephone conversations. The VoIP telephony service is offered as a managed solution to ensure optimum reliability and excellent sound quality.

SES AMERICOM is making the MMB service available through a network of reseller partners with KVH serving as the sole antenna supplier for all markets.

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