Telecom signs satellite broadband deal
Inmarsat, a satellite operator that specialises in mobile communications services, says it has appointed Telecom the contract to establish and manage one of Inmarsat’s Pacific Ocean Region satellite access stations for its Global Xpress (GX) service.
Telecom will manage a GX access ground station at Warkworth, north of Auckland, and supply land-lubbing international backhaul for Inmarsat's network via the Southern Cross Cable (50% owned by Telecom).
Once launched, GX will provide satellite broadband at speeds of up to 50Mbit/s.
Telecom is a backhaul and management partner only. It won't resell the service.
The full Inmarsat-5 constellation is on course to deployed by the end of 2014, providing a single global broadband service which can be accessed by users on land, at sea and in the air.
The satellites are currently under construction or testing at Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems’ El Segundo facility in California.
One telecommunications' industry insider's snap reaction to NBR ONLINE was, "Managing a ground station is no big deal. A reseller agreement would be big."
Telecom spokesman Richard Llewellyn told NBR, "It’s not really a supply service for Telecom; it’s more that Inmarsat are using Telecom for international back-haul of their satellite services. Mobile satellite communications are particularly useful for remote or off-shore industry sectors such as shipping, aviation and resources."
He adds, "Telecom is hosting, managing and providing backhaul [for GX]. Our National Transport Service will backhaul the satellite data when it hits earth and it will be carried internationally on the Southern Cross Cable."
Telco2 consultant Jonanthan Brewer told NBR, "Global Xpress could see the widespread introduction of high speed broadband on trans-Pacific flights and general shipping. In the cruise ship market it will likely face fierce competition from Google-backed startup 03b Networks.
"Telecom's role in managing a ground station and providing backhaul is a minor one. When fully loaded, traffic from the Pacific passing through New Zealand's ground station is unlikely to exceed 10Gbit/s.
"Our government's participation in US-based SIGINT [NSA Signals Intelligence] programmes is likely to have had a bearing on the decision to locate one of two Pacific ground stations in New Zealand."