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Second Inmarsat I-4 'Gateway to Broadband' Satellite Launched

Reporters have used Inmarsat regional BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) services to provide video and audio feeds from isolated battlegrounds in Iraq. With the launch of the second Inmarsat I-4 satellite Nov. 8 on a Sea Launch Zenith rocket, we are now closer to having high-speed connectivity everywhere on the planet, with the exception of some areas near the poles. The EADS Astrium satellite will be in geostationary orbit over northern Brazil and will serve North and South America and countries in between with data connectivity at speeds up to half a megabit per second.

The first satellite was launched in March and is already providing BGAN service from its location at 64 degrees east longitude above the Indian Ocean. Combined with the satellite launched last week, the two satellites will provide BGAN service to 85 percent of the world's landmass.

The I-4 satellites are equipped with a single global beam covering up to a third of the Earth's surface (excluding the poles) and 19 wide spot beams that provide continuous coverage across the same region for Inmarsat services such as Fleet F77 128 kbps data, Fleet F55 and F33, and maritime mini-M. Unlike their predecessors, the I-4 satellites also have 228 narrow spot beams that will be used to provide BGAN service. BGAN is scheduled to launch by the end of the year.

Tracking, telemetry and control stations for the satellites are located at Fucino, Italy; Beijing, China; Lake Cowichan in western Canada; and Pennant Point in eastern Canada. There are back-up stations at Eik, Norway and Auckland, New Zealand. Two new Satellite Access Stations (SASs) are being built to support BGAN in Burum, Netherlands and Fucino, Italy.

Additional information on the satellites is available on the Web site, including coverage maps and updates on system progress on the Countdown to BGAN Web page.