OneWeb and Marlink partner to deliver ‘terrestrial-like connectivity’ at sea

Global satcom provider Marlink has signed with OneWeb, the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, to deliver new high-speed connectivity services to shipping in a development eagerly anticipated by many involved in maritime tech.

OneWeb said today it will bring “terrestrial-like” connectivity services to all types of commercial users onshore and offshore.

Marlink will integrate OneWeb’s low Earth orbit, high-speed satellite connectivity into its hybrid network.

Shipping companies will have more options now in terms of communication and cost

Carole Plessy, OneWeb’s vice president of maritime, said: “OneWeb is building a new generation of business broadband services, powered by low Earth orbit satellites to create a truly global connectivity network to the high seas. OneWeb, together with Marlink connectivity solutions, will allow the maritime industry a pathway to digitalisation, both on and offshore.”

OneWeb is making progress in building its constellation and currently has 394 satellites in low Earth orbit, representing more than 60% of its planned fleet, delivering connectivity to customers in remote regions of Alaska, Canada and the North Sea. Launches will continue during 2022 to enable the company to offer commercial connectivity services globally for maritime in 2023.

The shipping industry was repeatedly told of the importance this year of new low Earth orbit satellite networks reaching an initial operating capability disrupting the VSAT space in Splash’s maritime tech outlook published last month.

James Collett, managing director of Sperry Marine, told Splash: “This type of high bandwidth, low latency connectivity will unlock a new level in the kind of applications that can be used onboard ship and enable a completely new type of collaborative work and knowledge sharing between ship and shore.”

“Other companies are entering into the fray with alternative affordable satellite solutions including big players like Inmarsat and all this means is that shipping companies will have more options now in terms of communication and cost,” commented Su Yin Anand, co-founder of maritime tech competition, The Captain’s Table.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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