The North Atlantic Oceanic Route is one of the most strategic trade routes, linking Western Europe and North America. Each year, commercial maritime vessels transport large volumes of cargo through this sea lane. These waters also support major fishing, offshore energy, cruise and leisure industries.
However, network connectivity for critical operations can be lacking in this relatively remote area. A lack of connectivity can hinder a ship’s navigation or maintenance systems, and it can severely limit or even prevent the crew’s communications with family and friends on shore. This means that in order to succeed, fleets operating in this region need reliable network coverage.
Let’s take a look at why reliable connectivity is critical for helping vessel owners and operators stay competitive, and at how solutions providers can now deliver this crucial coverage in the North Atlantic Sea Lane.
Why Fleets are Seeking Innovative Means for Connectivity at Sea
Across the maritime industry, companies are finding innovative ways to utilize reliable, high-performance, scalable connectivity to optimize their operations and improve the crew and passenger experience. A few examples include:
- Ship operators have incorporated advanced high-bandwidth applications into their operations at sea to stay connected with onshore operations, track deliveries, conduct remote diagnostics, comply with regulatory requirements, and more.
- Continuous monitoring of weather data improves voyage planning and optimizes fuel consumption.
- Crews use connectivity to stay in touch with friends and family, and to access education and entertainment activities.
These innovative examples allow ship owners and operators to:
- increase fleet efficiency
- prevent downtime
- optimize energy consumption
- reduce maintenance costs
- improve crew welfare
Recognizing this growing need for connectivity, Intelsat recently expanded its FlexMaritime service to support these mission-critical operations in the North Atlantic Sea Lane.
Supporting Maritime Businesses Across the North Atlantic
Intelsat is the pioneer in the satellite communications sector. Since our founding 50 years ago, we’ve built one of the largest and most advanced global maritime connectivity networks. Today, Intelsat is the preeminent provider of maritime bandwidth globally to well over half of all vessels in the world equipped with Very Small Aperture (VSAT) services.
Now, solutions providers serving maritime operators in the North Atlantic Sea Lane, such as shipping, offshore oil & gas rigs, superyachts, leisure or fishing vessels, can utilize Intelsat’s FlexMaritime connectivity solution for high-speed, secure and reliable connectivity.
Intelsat accomplished this feat by continually adding to its already-robust maritime network. Most recently, we enhanced FlexMaritime to include coverage throughout the Hudson Bay and North Atlantic, including northeastern Canada, Iceland, Greenland and the North Sea. This expansion adds over four million square kilometers to the existing FlexMaritime network, enabling more ships to experience the benefits of high-performance, reliable and scalable connectivity.
The FlexMaritime network expansion leverages many of our satellites, including Intelsat 901 (IS-901), which docked to Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-1) in February 2020 for life-extension servicing — the first time ever such services were offered to a commercial satellite in geosynchronous orbit. As a result of that historic event, MEV-1 is now powering IS-901 for an additional five years.
What This Means for Connectivity at Sea
The FlexMaritime network now integrates the capacity of 16 satellites with more than 140 beams, combined with nine teleports, to create multi-layered coverage specifically designed for the stringent demands of the maritime industry. Ships using FlexMaritime seamlessly connect to multiple high-throughput and wide-beam satellites, ensuring maximum performance and service availability wherever they are travelling.
How to Access FlexMaritime
FlexMaritime is delivered to end-customers exclusively through Intelsat’s network of diverse and highly experienced distributors. This distribution network continues to expand rapidly, with well over 5,000 ships registered.
Our customers can look forward to further coverage enhancements and the introduction of new services as Intelsat continues to expand and enhance its FlexMaritime service.