Inmarsat says that the “all-you-can-eat” service will be provided on 65 of SPO’s vessels by its partner Station711, the mobile satellite arm of RRsat Global Communications Network, and its service provider SMTS.
The agreement comprises SAILOR FB500 terminals, maintenance and support services, as well as Station711’s smart@sea communication gateway, which was originally installed as part of the FB 5GB contract awarded back in 2011.
SMTS will install the antennas and FleetBroadband terminals, as well as the on-board Local Area Networks (LANs).
Station711 will provide the satcom management and control toolset based on its DPlatform solution. This is in addition to smart@sea for Unified Threat Management (UTM) security, the crew welfare voice and data module, IP traffic real-time compression, acceleration, caching and filtering, shore-side unified POP facility, and a control system.
SPO says that operational efficiency and crew welfare motivated the upgrade.
“Reliable communications with good through-put rates is of great importance in our industry,” said Colin Payne, HR director for Swire Pacific Offshore. “The upgrade to FB Unlimited from our current FB 5GB plan is expected to meet the immediate needs of the ever growing demand for connectivity to friends, family and shore-based management.”
“New technologies are increasingly ‘bandwidth hungry’ and while we have enjoyed excellent download and upload speeds with our FB 5GB service, to remain competitive and to deliver enhanced crew welfare, we needed to increase data allowances whilst keeping strong cost controls in place.”
“FB Unlimited will assist in areas such as purchasing, and encouraging officers and others to use internal and external online services to support the management needs of the vessel. Additionally, it meets the growing demands of our customers who require robust and data heavy communication with our vessels 24/7,” continued Mr Payne.
SPO provides internet access free-of-charge to all members of the crew, averaging 15 persons per vessel. It has allocated a number of computer terminals to ensure that everyone gets a chance to go online during the day. “With unlimited access to the internet, we can allow the crew to connect with their family and friends through email and social media platforms,” said Mr Payne.
Ohad Har-Lev, managing director of Mobile Satellite Services at RRsat, said: “Maritime broadband services have opened up a wide range of commercial, operational and personal crew communication uses. The ongoing and challenging economic environment for the shipping industry has driven the need for efficient and cost effective satcom solutions. FB Unlimited, along with the enhanced smart@sea solution, allows SPO to manage its communication costs, while meeting the growing demand for bandwidth.”
Frank Coles, president of Inmarsat Maritime, said: “Partners like RRSat Group have been helping to change the face of communication services for the maritime industry with innovative services like smart@sea. We continually look at ways in which we can support them by providing greater value to our award-winning FleetBroadband service (…) FB Unlimited is another way in which we are empowering vessel owners and operators to take advantage of the latest on-board technologies, confident in the knowledge that their communications costs are fixed.”