Inmarsat launches global broadband network

Broadband global area network (BGAN), a mobile satellite communications service that provides voice and broadband data simultaneously through a portable device —officially launched operations Dec. 7 with a press conference at Inmarsat’s London headquarters.

Six years in development, BGAN offers IP data speeds of up to 492Kb/s, with the option of guaranteed data rates up to 256Kb/s. Journalists working in the most remote places on the planet can use the service to file text, audio and video packages, especially when using with store-and-forward technology.

Delivered via the Inmarsat-4 satellites, the service is initially available across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Following the launch of Inmarsat's second I-4 satellite Nov. 8, network coverage will be extended to North and South America during the second quarter of next year.

The two I-4 satellites will deliver seamless broadband coverage across 85 percent of the world's landmass and be available to 98 percent of the world's population. BGAN lets users access their corporate network via a secure virtual private network connection, use e-mail and other office applications, browse the Internet, send large file attachments, stream video or audio and make a phone call at the same time. It also supports a range of encryption standards for secure communications. Connecting to the service requires a lightweight satellite terminal. BGAN terminals can be connected in minutes using wired or wireless connections, including Bluetooth and WLAN 802.11b.

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