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Inmarsat nears service launch from I-4 Americas satellite

Inmarsat has nearly completed its preparations to put the new I-4 Americas satellite covering North and South America into service on Jan. 7, 2009.

Broadcasters worldwide have augmented their traditional field newsgathering technology with BGAN terminals that offer crews the freedom to transmit from the remotest of locations that cannot be reached with conventional SNG and ENG technology.

The new satellite, the third in the Inmarsat Broadband Global Area Network constellation, was launched from Kazakhstan on Aug. 18. The satellite, which is expected to begin offering service at about 09:00 UTC from its orbit location at 98 degrees west, will be positioned over the same region currently served by the I-4 F2 satellite. It will allow Inmarsat to offer a higher concentration of spot beams over the landmass and provide optimized data rates. It also will extend BGAN coverage to parts of western Canada and Alaska.

About an hour before the new satellite goes live with service, Inmarsat will transfer traffic from its I-4 F2 satellite to the new I-4 Americas bird. The company anticipates there will be a service outage of about an hour while the transfer is completed.

Following the outage, BGAN users in the region will need to cease pointing their terminals at the I-4 F2 satellite at 53 degrees west and point them at the I-4 Americas satellite at 98 degrees west. The latest version of BGAN LaunchPad, available from the company’s Web site, provides coverage maps to help users repoint their antennas.

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