Inmarsat is to introduce two new satellite payloads dedicated to the Arctic region in a partnership with Space Norway, and its subsidiary Space Norway HEOSAT.
The new Global Xpress (GX) payloads support the rapidly growing demand among users, including the rapidly growing expedition cruise ship market, for reliable, high-speed mobile broadband services in the Arctic and throughout the world.
They specifically address rising demand for high-speed mobile broadband Fleet Xpress service capability from the cruise and other sectors, where high-speed broadband connectivity is driving both major operational and efficiency improvements and supporting the introduction of new business models.
Inmarsat’s new Arctic capabilities will further increase network flexibility and efficiency through multi-beam, high-throughput capacity that can be fully dialled up and down depending on customer demand in the region, the company claimed.
Today, the Arctic Circle represents a rapidly growing connectivity region for high-quality mobile broadband with increasing requirements from customers. Building on Inmarsat’s current capabilities up to and beyond 75 deg North, the new GX Arctic payloads will improve network performance in very high latitudes by flying directly overhead, providing GX antennas with much higher elevation angles to optimise throughput.
A growing number of merchant ships and cruise ships have transited the Northwest Passage, connecting Asia and the East Coast of North America via Arctic seas without incident. High-value expedition ship market is one of the fastest growing parts of the cruise industry, with 41 smaller exploration ships due delivery between 2019 and 2023, according to industry figures.
Ronald Spithout, President (pictured), Inmarsat Maritime, said: “I would like to thank Space Norway for providing this opportunity to deliver dedicated GX capacity in the Arctic region. Norway has been a strong, strategic partner for Inmarsat over many years. It is the home to one of our most advanced research and development centres, located at the Norwegian Maritime Competence Center (NMCC) based in Ålesund, which is part of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology campus. Today’s announcement with Space Norway is a further example of the strength of this relationship.
“Connectivity in the Arctic region for the maritime industry is growing in importance as, merchant, fishing and cruise ships transit new high-value waterways. With close to 7.000 vessels already using Fleet Xpress, we will always seek to be ahead of where our customers are going and what they demand from us. This enhancement is fully backward compatible with our existing Fleet Xpress service and will strengthen coverage over the Arctic to provide the connectivity needed by our customers now and into the future,” he said.