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November 7, 2023
Marlink has partnered with satellite operator Eutelsat OneWeb who will provide space based connectivity to exploration cruise firm Ponant for its luxury icebreaker.
Marlink together with Eutelsat OneWeb has deployed a hybrid network setup onboard the polar exploration ship Le Commandant Charcot – apparently the world’s only luxury icebreaker, combining GEO VSAT, LEO and 4G/5G cellular services.
An encrypted network using a layered service approach ensures privacy while multiple service profiles can segregate crew and operational traffic on the same terminal, we’re told.
This allows the ship’s bridge, engineering crew and shore teams to remain connected, while guests can also make use of decent internet in the remote icy seas where it was presumably not abundant – crucial for posting Instagram Live content straight from the deck.
“This is a new generation of broadband services for maritime, powered by LEO satellites to create a truly global connectivity platform to bring fibre to the high seas,” said Carole Plessy, VP Europe and Maritime, Eutelsat OneWeb. “Eutelsat OneWeb and Marlink service will support PONANT in its ongoing digitalisation, both on and offshore and PONANT’s guests with a high-quality internet experience to match its refined experience. Marlink is a highly respected industry leader and we are delighted to be continuing in our partnership.”
Tore Morten Olsen, President, Maritime, Marlink added: “Marlink is delighted to apply its expertise in integrating the latest new technologies with the addition to Eutelsat OneWeb’s LEO solution to the smart hybrid network available to guests and crew onboard Le Commandant Charcot,” says Tore Morten Olsen, President, Maritime, Marlink. “The Eutelsat OneWeb’s LEO constellation provides a new level of user experience onboard ship, unlocking new applications as well as supporting safer, more efficient sailing.”
Eutelsat Group says its LEO constellation is complete and fully operational down to 25 degrees latitude, with 634 satellites now in orbit. There is apparently still work to be done on its ground station infrastructure, which will enable global maritime services.
The outfit was formed by the merger of Eutelsat and OneWeb competed in September this year, and with its combined GEO/LEO offering it seems upbeat about opening up new market opportunities. At the time of the completion it listed fixed connectivity, including backhaul and corporate networks; government services; mobile connectivity, like maritime and in-flight comms, and Eutelsat’s core broadcast and video services presence, as strings to its merged bow.
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