A regional Ka-band satellite communications service is providing higher steady and burst data rates for passenger shipping and offshore support vessels.
Telenor Satellite has revealed its Anker Ka-band maritime managed services for operators of ferries, cruise ships, offshore vessels, fishing vessels and commercial shipping.
Telenor has introduced three products under the Anker umbrella – Anker Speed, Quota and Custom. Product manager Geir Anders Varanes explained how these packages provide different elements for customers using Ka-band coverage from the Thor 7 satellite.
Anker Speed provides guaranteed committed information rate (CIR) with the ability to rapidly increase bandwidth for a short period, with bursts in bit rates of up to 24 Mbps download and 6 Mbps upload.
“This is a product for those customers that require a high quality connection and fixed monthly rates,” said Mr Varanes. Its fixed monthly costs enable vessel owners to budget their satellite communications expenditure.
Anker Quota is a service owners can use if they need a fixed amount of data each month in one package, with the ability to add more. “With the Quota product owners get monthly quotas of 5, 10 or 25 GB,” said Mr Varanes. There are top-ups in packages of 5-200 GB available if required.
“When owners reach 50% usage or 90% they will be notified by email and they will then know when they need to top up,” Mr Varanes explained. “Speed will be reduced down to CIR, unless owners top-up the quota after spending their monthly quota.”
Vessel owners can monitor their satellite communications usage through Telenor’s online portal, The Bridge. Mr Varanes said Anker Quota was introduced for entry level users with a sporadic capacity requirement.
Telenor then introduced a customised version for vessel operators who need more capacity than offered by the quota and speed products. These include operators of offshore and research vessels that have high data transmission requirements and need large data packages.
“Anker Custom provides full flexibility and the possibility to create a profile suitable to meet any requirement,” he said. This can include symmetric and asymmetric profiles for vessel owners. “The speed and quota products were created to fit the most common use cases. Custom products with full flexibility have a higher overhead and will be slightly more expensive.”
Telenor Satellite director of data services Jan Hetland said Anker’s portfolio is versatile and accessible for all types of vessels to improve their broadband experience. “With Anker we can accommodate seasonal flexibility and meet short-term service requirements,” he said.
He told Maritime Digitalisation & Communications that Telenor Satellite had seen considerable growth in the number of vessels using its Anker Ka-band service. This is partially because of the falling size of available Ka-band antennas.
“Our main success is in fisheries, ferries and offshore vessels,” said Mr Hetland. “We have seen good monthly growth rates. In Ka-services, we have gone from zero to the same level as all our Ku-band,” he said.
Mr Hetland predicts that other vessel operators will be able to install Ka-band VSAT as smaller antennas are developed. “We see a change because of smaller antennas and lower prices that are opening these lower-end markets,” he said.
Thor 7 provides Ka-band from high intensity spot beams from the Arctic areas offshore northern Norway to the Mediterranean, plus in the North Sea, Middle East, Black Sea and across most of the northeast Atlantic.
Satellite communications and connectivity for offshore support vessels will be discussed at the annual Offshore Support Journal Conference, Awards & Exhibition in London 6-7 February 2019, which will explore growth opportunities in an unpredictable market. Book your place now.