Global mobile satellite communications provider, Inmarsat, has completed construction of the final four satellite access stations (SAS) for its Global Xpress (GX) fleet. According to the company, this event represents a significant milestone in the rollout of its GX global high-speed broadband Ka-band network, which is scheduled for global commercial service introduction early in the second half of 2015.
Inmarsat states that GX Aviation will deliver 50Mbps Ka-band broadband connectivity to commercial and business aircraft, with consistent global coverage.
The new GX stations are located in Lino Lakes in Minnesota, USA; Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada; with two sites near Auckland, New Zealand. Two further stations – in Fucino, Italy and Nemea, Greece – are already operational, servicing the first Global Xpress satellite that covers the Indian Ocean region. All six GX SAS will act as gateways between the broadband traffic routed via the three Inmarsat-5 (I-5) satellites and terrestrial fixed networks. Each SAS delivers ground-segment redundancy for GX services, which helps ensure reliability during adverse weather, for example.
“Completing our ground network is an important step in rolling out our global GX service, which is on course to be in service by early in the second half of 2015,” said Leo Mondale, president of Inmarsat Aviation. “The inflight connectivity market is growing rapidly, with passengers around the world increasingly expecting to be connected when they are flying. And they want a comparable level of service to what they are used to on the ground. It is paramount that airlines have access to high-speed and high-capacity connections that provide the same reliable service wherever they fly across the world. GX Aviation is the only global network that can provide seamless, high capacity Ka-band connectivity fit for purpose for airlines.”
The first satellite in the GX constellation I5F1 was launched late in 2013. The remaining satellites are expected to be launched early in 2015.