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Illustrasjonsfoto SafeComNet
Illustrasjonsfoto SafeComNet

Furuno announced in a press conference at the SMM 2008 its decision to enter into the air-time business for Ku-band VSAT maritime communications on a global scale. The business scheme, named SafeComNet, will deliver global roaming service for Ku-band VSAT communications.

This is the first time ever that a single source would provide a global roaming Ku-band VSAT service for maritime communications to allow ship-owners and seafarers to communicate collectively on the global scale. This has been made possible by Furuno’s partnership with Eutelsat S.A. and SpeedCast LTD. This consortium will streamline the whole maritime Ku-band operation.

Benefits of SafeComNet
Availability of Ku-band VSAT service is now extended to offer global coverage SafeComNet is based on a Global Network Management System (GNMS) together with Automatic Beam Switching (ABS) and universal LNB technologies. It is a first in the maritime industry using multiple Ku-band beams around the world. This will allow seafarers automatic and seamless operations when their vessels cross several coverage areas of multiple satellite beams.
Depending on the vessels’ trading routes continuous and seamless connectivity will require between six and 15 satellites. For sea areas where Ku-band coverage is not available today, for instance the South Atlantic and southern part of the Indian ocean, Furuno Mobile Satellite Systems offer a selector box solution enabling customers to switch from VSAT to L-band service (usually an Inmarsat service).
Up until now, the availability of the Ku-band VSAT service has been limited to the service coverage provided by a single satellite service provider within a specific coverage area, and when a vessel went across different service areas or satellite Ku-band beams, the service provider had to manually adjust the frequency setting and polarisation of the remote equipment and even get the customer to swap out different equipment on-board the vessel, in order to secure the network availability. However, with this new global maritime Ku-band network, provided by Eutelsat and SpeedCast, all these adjustments and manual swap of equipment have been made a thing of the past, as all is now done automatically and transparently to the end-users at sea.
Streamlining the billing procedure for Ku-band VSAT communication SafeComNet will also greatly streamline the billing procedure for Ku-band VSAT communications. Billing of maritime services has been such that each service provider charges the end users for the time or the amount of data they have transmitted on the services used, depending on the per minute or per Mbyte rates set by each service provider, and the end users have to pay for several complicated communication bills individually. However, with SafeComNet in operation, the billing just becomes a lot simpler with a “fixed monthly fee” based on the service package selected. Furuno will be the contact point for payment. This will eliminate the current complex procedure of having to deal with multiple communication bills that ship owners/operators have to endure currently. In addition, end users will no longer be restricted to how much time they spend online or how much data they transmit, as they will be getting an unlimited broadband service 24 hours a day for a monthly fixed fee.
SafeComNet will diligently develop cost-effective solutions for reliable global seamless integration of ships’ communication with terrestrial networks. Its efforts will help improve ships’ operation, security and safety at sea and will contribute to enhance welfare of the crewmembers of the ocean-going fleets.

Eutelsat Communications
With capacity commercialised on 24 satellites that provide coverage over the entire European continent, as well as the Middle East, Africa, India and significant parts of Asia and the Americas, Eutelsat Communications is one of the world’s three leading satellite operators in terms of revenues. Eutelsat is headquartered in Paris.

SpeedCast LTD.
Founded in September of 1999, SpeedCast is a leading satellite communications service provider in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Fully owned by Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (AsiaSat) SpeedCast is specialized in delivering communications solutions ranging from Broadband Internet to managed bandwidth to triple play networks.