Inmarsat Launches Faster On-Demand Satellite Streaming Service

It seems it was just yesterday when news correspondents reporting from the new war in Afghanistan use a pair of linked satellite phones to get a 128 Kbps audio-video feed on the air. The picture was passable on TV, as long as the image was shrunk, the speaker didn’t move and there was no activity in the background.

Inmarsat BGAN service in action. (Inmarsat photo)

Now, Inmarsat has launched its BGAN X-Stream service, guaranteeing streaming rates from a minimum of 384 Kbps up to 450 Kbps, which the company calls the fastest on-demand streaming rate available in a mobile satellite service, and a boost of more than 50 percent above its previous service.

The near-broadcast quality of the data means broadcasters and others can avoid or lessen reliance on satellite trucks, instead using existing hardware—compact BGAN terminals such as the Hughes HNS9210 and Thrane & Thrane Explorer 700.

BGAN technology is already used by the military and others to get data to and from the battlefield, among other applications. The Inmarsat on-demand service complements existing government satellite capacity, the company said.

The system can also add all kinds of encryption needed for government and military apps.

It became commercially available on the Inmarsat-4 EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia) satellite April 20, with deployment globally—the entire planet except for the polar region—in June.

From Government Video