Thales and Inmarsat begin satellite broadband service

Thales UK and Inmarsat have joined forces to distribute satellite broadband services.

In the works since November 2005, the deal means Thales will be a lead UK distributor of Inmarsat's broadband global area network (BGAN) mobile satellite service beginning in the second quarter of 2007.

"Broadband Internet access via a satellite network provides the connectivity expected as standard in an office to people working in the most remote and challenging environments," said Richard Deakin, Managing Director at Thales UK's aerospace business. "With BGAN, voice and data can be transmitted securely via the world's most sophisticated commercial satellites, from and to anywhere in the world, to complete the information picture. BGAN from Thales will be a key step forward for the service provider community and the end user."

With connections of up to 492kbps, BGAN uses portable terminal devices to deliver connectivity via the Inmarsat-4 satellite network. All that users require is a laptop, BGAN unit and - if making calls - a telephone handset.

"Our job is to take satellite services and ensure a retail channel to work and adapt to clients," said Simon Tudge, head of Inmarsat distribution at Thales. "We will be able to help new service providers offer BGAN, enabling them to expand their existing markets and access new sectors, and thereby growing the market for satellite communications."

Customers include firms with employees in locations with no access to standard network connections as well as those with tighter security requirements, such as finance companies who need integrated encryption at all times.

"For instances where a mobile or fixed-line connection is either unavailable or insecure, BGAN allows users to create their own private network link via satellite," said Tudge. "This is crucial in emergency situations when the mobile networks are jammed or damaged, or when corporate sensitivities require independence from fixed networks or landlines."