SpeedCast, Eutelsat and iDirect Partner to Expand Maritime VSAT Service to New Regions and Market Segments

Broadband, fixed-fee service now covers 95 percent of commercial shipping lanes and offshore regions, supporting 60 cm and 1 m Ku-band antennas, and featuring lower cost service plans

Jun 28, 2010, 09:00 ET from iDirect

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HERNDON, Va., June 28 /PRNewswire/ -- VT iDirect, Inc. (iDirect), a company of VT Systems Inc. (VT Systems), today announced that Hong Kong-based SpeedCast Limited and Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) have expanded the reach and capabilities of their global maritime broadband service to address a broader market of end customers. The service now extends across more than 20 Ku-band beams covering nearly all major shipping lanes and offshore markets. SpeedCast and Eutelsat have also introduced a regional service using a 60 cm Ku-band marine antenna for smaller coastal and regional vessels. In addition, customers can now choose from an extensive lineup of lower cost service plans to meet an increasingly diverse range of applications and budgetary needs.  iDirect is a world leader in satellite-based IP communications technology.  

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Broader market reach and service flexibility

The global maritime broadband service, delivered by SpeedCast and Eutelsat, is one of the most widely deployed VSAT offerings in the world. It is relied on by a diverse group of maritime customers, including commercial shipping, tankers, oil and gas offshore platforms, offshore supply vessels, research and survey vessels, navies, cruise liners, yachts, and fishing vessels, for their communication and data needs.

With the smaller form-factor 60 cm marine antenna, the maritime service can now address small-to-mid-size vessels that operate along coastlines and in regional waters, such as yachts, fishing boats, smaller coastal vessels and river vessels. Today, 60 cm Ku-band antenna systems have lower purchase and installation costs compared to larger 1 m Ku-band and 2.4 m C-band systems. SpeedCast has expanded the service coverage by recently launching a 60 cm regional service in the Caribbean, and Eutelsat is set to introduce an additional 60 cm service in the Mediterranean.

SpeedCast and Eutelsat have also expanded their service plan options, introducing lower airtime rates and customized service plans. Customers can tailor a service plan to better match their bandwidth requirements for specific applications and budgets.  These plans can be as low as 64 kbps to over 2 Mbps, and are offered as either a shared or dedicated service. The shared service includes dedicated bandwidth options which guarantee a customer's throughput for enterprise-grade applications, enabling vessels to share bandwidth reliably across a wide range of applications from email and Internet access to real-time ship management software.  

The global network is built on the iDirect platform and leverages advanced technologies such as Automatic Beam Switching (ABS) for seamless connectivity across multiple satellite footprints, DVB-S2 encoding for bandwidth optimization, and Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM) for optimized power utilization and reliable performance in all weather conditions. These advanced technologies are strengthened by several key capabilities and network management features developed by SpeedCast and Eutelsat:

  • Seamless global coverage. SpeedCast and Eutelsat have linked more than 20 Ku-band satellite beams into an integrated, global coverage network. Vessels can travel across satellite footprints while maintaining seamless connectivity.
  • Wide range of antenna sizes and manufacturers. The service operates over a broad selection of Ku-band antenna sizes, from 60 cm to 1 m, and manufacturers, including SeaTel, Orbit, Intellian, KNS and Mitsubishi. SpeedCast and Eutelsat also support C-band antennas and offer L-band services for back-up connectivity.
  • Advanced monitoring and asset tracking solution. Vessel tracking, network management, service level performance monitoring and more can be accessed via the Web using a value added service called "SMART" (SpeedCast's Monitoring And Reporting Tools). Customers can access this secure Web-based network management portal, running on iDirect's SatManage software, for greater visibility and control of their fleet and their business.
  • Broad range of services for critical communication needs. SpeedCast and Eutelsat also offer a wealth of value added services to meet the needs of maritime customers and ensure optimal network performance and bandwidth utilization for mission-critical applications. These include SpeedTalk for optimized VoIP service, SpeedCam for remote secure video surveillance and SpeedStar for network traffic optimization.
  • Network installation and management. Customers can also choose a variety of service extras such as customized systems and network design, remote site surveys, installation, commissioning, remote monitoring, maintenance services, network integration and 24/7 customer support.

"As VSAT connectivity becomes a core part of maritime operations across every segment of the industry, we continue to expand the coverage and capabilities of our maritime VSAT network to serve our customers better. Our goal is to support the broadest range of antenna manufacturers and sizes as well as the widest possible broadband plans to meet all our customers' application requirements and budgets. When it comes to maritime broadband communications, we really do not think that one size fits all. We are committed to providing value added services that enable our customers to maximize their return on this critical technology investment."

~ Nick DUKAKIS

Vice President for Maritime & Offshore Services, SpeedCast

"SpeedCast and Eutelsat are leveraging the full capabilities of the iDirect platform to deliver a powerful business solution to the rapidly transforming maritime industry. Their service brings together all the essential requirements of a maritime VSAT network into a single offering – a global satellite fleet, customized service plans and total network support."  

~ John ARNOLD

Director of Sales, Asia Pacific, iDirect

"Eutelsat is committed to developing efficient, cost-effective and flexible solutions for the maritime market, in collaboration with partners who are experts in their field, including SpeedCast and iDirect. We believe there is significant untapped potential for the maritime market in waters around the world and are excited by the prospect of additional business made possible by the expansion of our footprint."

Laurent PAUL

Director, Maritime Services, Eutelsat

For more information, please visit SpeedCast and Eutelsat at the Global VSAT Forum (GVF) Broadband Maritime Europe 2010 conference, being held at the Strand Palace Hotel in London, June 28 and 29, 2010.

SpeedCast Ltd is a leading satellite telecommunications service provider that offers high-quality managed networks services in over 35 countries in Asia, Middle East and Africa. With 10 international points of presence and 7-teleport-operations, it boasts a unique infrastructure to serve corporate and carriers' requirements. Operating over 10 VSAT platforms SpeedCast has developed a strong operations expertise and an efficient support organization, which are at the root of SpeedCast's success. Leveraging the latest satellite technologies, SpeedCast has taken leadership positions in Asia in the provision of reliable and efficient network services to key industries like Cellular networks, Maritime, Banking or Oil & Gas. SpeedCast Ltd is also a pioneer in the delivery of digital media content and turnkey video platforms to Service Providers and Media Broadcasters, including 3G TV and DVB-H based Mobile TV platforms. Operating on many different satellites in both C-band and Ku-band, and partnering with Tier 1 carriers for its fiber requirements, SpeedCast Ltd and its 150 partners worldwide provide first-class services and 24/7 technical support. Please visit www.speedcast.com.

Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL, ISIN code: FR0010221234) is the holding company of Eutelsat S.A.. With capacity commercialised on 27 satellites that provide coverage over the entire European continent, as well as the Middle East, Africa, India and significant parts of Asia and the Americas, Eutelsat is one of the world's three leading satellite operators in terms of revenues. At 30 June 2009, Eutelsat's satellites were broadcasting more than 3,200 television channels and 1,100 radio stations. More than 1,000 channels broadcast via its HOT BIRD™ video neighbourhood at 13 degrees East which serves over 123 million cable and satellite homes in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The Group's satellites also serve a wide range of fixed and mobile telecommunications services, TV contribution markets, corporate networks, and broadband markets for Internet Service Providers and for transport, maritime and in-flight markets. Eutelsat's broadband subsidiary, Skylogic, markets and operates services through its teleport in France and Italy that serves enterprises, local communities, government agencies and aid organisations in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Headquartered in Paris, Eutelsat and its subsidiaries employ 610 commercial, technical and operational experts from 28 countries. Please visit www.eutelsat.com.

iDirect, a subsidiary of VT Systems, is transforming the way the world gets and stays connected. The company's satellite-based IP communications technology enables constant connectivity for voice, video and data applications in diverse and challenging environments. The iDirect Intelligent Platform™ integrates advanced technology into iDirect's portfolio of hubs, routers and network management software to address the growing complexity of deploying and managing global IP networks. With more than 15 years of global satellite communications experience, iDirect serves customers in over 50 countries through a diverse network of service provider partners, including seven of the World Teleport Association's Global Top Ten operators. Headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, iDirect has offices in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. In 2007, iDirect Government Technologies (iGT) was set up to drive adoption of its IP-based solutions in the US Government market. In 2008, iDirect Asia Pte Ltd was established in Singapore to enhance its value-add and responsiveness to customers in the Asia Pacific region.  Please visit www.idirect.net.

VT Systems and its subsidiaries are preferred providers of engineering solutions, products, integrated systems, and services in the Americas across the core business areas of marine, aerospace, electronics and land systems. Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, VT Systems operates around the globe and offers a broad range of proven innovative services to both the commercial and government sectors. VT Systems is a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd. Please visit www.vt-systems.com.

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