Telecom NZ wins Inmarsat satellite station contract

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Telecom NZ wins Inmarsat satellite station contract
Telecom NZ's satellite earth station in Warkworth. Source: vendor.

Live TV for aeroplanes mooted.

Telecom New Zealand's existing facility in Warkworth, north of Auckland, will host satellite provider Inmarsat's Pacific Ocean Region access station for its upcoming Global Xpress broadband network, the telco said today.

As part of the deal, Telecom NZ will house Inmarsat's GX antenna at the Warkworth Satellite Earth Station and backhaul data nationally and internationally, via the Southern Cross Cable System.

The value of the deal was not disclosed. A Telecom spokesperson told iTnews the information was commercially sensitive.

Global Xpress or GX will feature up to 50 megabit/s download and 5 megabit/s upload speed for customers, and operates in the Ka-band. Six satellite access station locations have been selected by Inmarsat so far.

Inmarsat-5 satellite coverage

A constellation of three Inmarsat-5 satellites is being built by Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems in California, with the first one scheduled for launch in the new year. All satellites will be launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan by Russian Proton rockets.

GX ground terminals are expected to be between 45 centimetres to 2.4 metres in size.

Source: Inmarsat

The US$1.2 billion (A$1.29 billion) GX system is set to be operational by the end of 2013, with a 15-year commercial life.

Inmarsat is aiming the commercial service at several types of users, including maritime shipping, airlines wanting to provide inflight connectivity, GSM phone access and live television, as well as broadcasters transmitting high-definition content.

Another target market is armed forces and government customers. Inmarsat said GX was suited for bandwidth intensive mobile applications such as airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for these.

Special and expeditionary forces are also expected to make use of GX, providing live, full-motion video, intelligence transmissions, command-and-control in theatres of action. GX is interoperable with United States' Military Satellite Communications Ka-band networks, Inmarsat said.

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