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Inmarsat announce $1.2bn investment in 50Mbps satellite broadband
Monday 09 August 2010 13:06:30 by John Hunt

Inmarsat, the satellite voice and data communications company, have announce a $1.2bn (£750 million) investment in 3 new Ka-band satellites which will deliver speeds of up to 50Mbps to customers. The new satellites will be built and deployed by Boeing, and are of their state-of-the-art 702HP range which will form the Inmarsat-5 constellation.

The target market is for ships or aircraft which will be able to deliver 50meg broadband to customers, revolutionising the way people work when they are on the move. With a smaller iPad sized antenna, users could expect to receive around 10Mbps. There is obviously scope for this to be used for fixed broadband services too which could help plug some broadband not-spots using high-speed access if the service is affordable. Boeing have already committed to become a distribution partner which will use around 10% of the available capacity in the first five years after launch.

"This is a new investment for growth. With the Global Xpress network, we will be the first operator to offer global broadband coverage, offering unparalleled speeds and bandwidth to customers in remote locations around the world.

Global Xpress will be faster and less expensive than current Ku-band market offerings, it will be delivered to smaller and cheaper terminals and be the first offered on a seamless, global, end-to-end basis with high-quality of service."

Andrew Sukawaty, (Chairman/CEO) Inmarsat

Inmarsat expect to launch their new Global Xpress service using these satellites in 2014.

Comments

Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"There is obviously scope for this to be used for fixed broadband services too which could help plug some broadband not-spots using high-speed access if the service is affordable."

No chance it will be an affordable solution for your regular home user. Stuff like this is still the realm of cruise ships and aeroplanes. Interesting news though.
Posted by MarkHampshire over 6 years ago
I remember someone who used satellite broadband - living in Royston I think in the days before 3G broadband was available. For people who can't get any broadband service including 3G or who want something quicker than 3G this could be an option - it's something I'd look at for here (ADSL @ 1.7Mbps, 3G @ 2.7Mbps - so 10Mbps would be a big improvement) although as you say, cost is a factor..
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
and it's 4 years away.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
Are those speeds the total bandwidth or per-user limit? If the latter, how many users are they anticipating?

70Mb/s sounds good but it's not so hot if it's being shared by 10,000 people :)
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
I wonder how they are doing the upload? Don't other sat deployments still use modems connected to phone lines for their upload?
Posted by csimon over 6 years ago
@GMAN99 - Two-way satellite systems have been available for some time, they use a LNB with a Tx and a Rx horn. One-way systems are quite affordable last time I looked, in terms of monthly subscription, and are probably comparable in price to landline options, but two-way systems are still pricey.
Posted by mhc over 6 years ago

@GMAN99

Satellite link in both directions. The current Inmarsat services give a guaranteed 256k up and down. Channel binding can increase that significantly.

Current terminal size including antenna is that of a large laptop.





Posted by mhc over 6 years ago
@ csimon

"... they use a LNB with a Tx and a Rx horn ..." not on Inmarsat systems. Antennas are phased arrays not dishes.

Posted by MarkHampshire over 6 years ago
This article makes me consider investigating satellite broadband again - I looked at it closely before when we lived in Welwyn Garden City with no access to broadband, and in that event we just moved a mile into a cabled area, but moving isn't an option right now and there's nothing on the horizon to improve matters here. If I could get 10Mbps I'd probably pay say £75 per month.
Posted by MarkHampshire over 6 years ago
I remember why we moved now... the set up cost (appears to be in the region of £700) coupled with slow speeds. Appears that satellite can still only manage 3.6Mbps at the moment which isn't much quicker than our 3G connection but what I just read suggests 10Mbps should be coming onstream this year (http://www.broadbandchoices.co.uk/satellite-broadband.html)
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
No-one seems to have mentioned latency, isn't that still ridiculous?
Posted by timmay over 6 years ago
Yes think of the latency! - often 1000~3000ms!

Currently installation costs £699 followed by £115 per month for a 3.6Mbps, 12GB per month allowance.

Satellite will always be a last resort option for the remotest places, boats, islands etc.
Posted by mhc over 6 years ago

Latency is there but is nearer 1000 ms but should not cause problems except on VOIP services although Inmarsat voice services have been around for 30 years and latencies of around 700ms are not a problem. Even with VOIP provided both parties know it is easy to converse, it is those who fail to adapt that hit the problems.

For data, provided you are aware and the applications are not millisecond critical then then it will not be an issue and it is easy to use a VPN for additional security too.

Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
"No-one seems to have mentioned latency, isn't that still ridiculous?" are the satellites still in space if so yes :)

Fine for general browsing etc but no good for delay sensitive like online gaming and voice. @ mhc I can't believe you think 700ms is ok for voice?
Posted by mhc over 6 years ago

Have you ever used voice services? I have many many times. It is fine for mission critical comms such as air traffic control so why not for normal comms?

Posted by MarkHampshire over 6 years ago
Latency on my 3G connection is between 80 and 90ms. It only notices on sites like the Radio Times TV guide which is riddled with ads, trackers and the like; you can watch the status bar at the page footer loading item after item. It is fine for VOIP. However I'm not sure I'd want ten times that much latency at the price, even though I don't play games online.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
I use my voice everyday :) and yes I'm well aware of VoIP , the codecs and that the overall one way delay should be 150ms or less. I'm not saying people can't work around that delay I'm saying that people won't accept it, not when they are used to instant responses usually. I'd say your "fail to adapt" would cover pretty much everyone. If I rang you after calling someone on another normal traditional phone line or even standard VoIP and you were on a Sat line I'd hang up, most would.
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