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Global, Mobile, Broadband Via Satellite Now Available From KVH and Viasat

If you are looking for a way to access the Internet while on the sea, KVH Industries and ViaSat may have a solution.

The two companies agreed to begin the global rollout of broadband service using KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband antenna and ViaSat’s ArcLight spread-spectrum mobile broadband technology and data hubs. Data rates are up to 512 kbps upload and 2 Mbps download. The mini-VSAT broadband service is already available at fixed monthly rates to mariners throughout North America, the Caribbean, the North Atlantic and Europe.

“Our new service offers customers predictable fixed airtime rates that are significantly less expensive and much faster than alternative maritime communications solutions,” said KVH CEO Martin Kits van Heyningen. “We feel the lower airtime rates combined with antennas that are 85 percent smaller and significantly less costly than traditional VSAT products will help the market grow beyond the small number of very large vessels currently using maritime broadband services. Under the terms of our revenue sharing arrangement with ViaSat, this expansion positions KVH to earn revenue not only from the maritime use of the service but also from future aeronautical applications that roam throughout our network.”

Ian Palmer, KVH executive vice president of satellite sales, added, “The TracPhone V7 hardware and the mini-VSAT Broadband service represent the first end-to-end VSAT hardware, service, and support package available for maritime communications. We’re able to offer a ‘cable modem-like’ experience at sea and provide broadband services to a wide range of commercial and government vessels, including many that previously were unable to support broadband at sea. With the TracPhone V7 and our planned expansion of mini-VSAT Broadband service, KVH will offer leisure, commercial, and government vessels around the globe a rugged, powerful satellite communications technology that brings significant advantages over traditional VSAT in size, data speed, and airtime costs while still being compact and practical enough for smaller vessels.”

At the stated data rates, the system should be usable for feeding video clips from the field when conventional video links are unavailable.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.