Houston, Texas — October 12, 2022 — Speedcast, a leading communications and IT services provider, announced today that the company has partnered with Hurtigruten Expeditions to complete fleetwide implementation of SpaceX’s Starlink low earth orbit (LEO) broadband connectivity. Hurtigruten Expeditions, the world’s largest and leading expedition cruise line, and its long-time connectivity partner, Speedcast, began initial testing and integration of Starlink’s LEO service onboard the fleet in March. Roll-out of the high-speed, low-latency connectivity will be finished by the end of October, making the cruise line likely to be the first in the industry to complete a fleetwide installation.
Starlink’s broadband connectivity is being integrated via Speedcast’s advanced network management technologies, blending the LEO coverage with multiple transmission paths delivered to the fleet as part of a complete managed service. This includes traditional geostationary (GEO) orbit coverage, and 4G/5G for Hurtigruten Expeditions’ high-demand applications.
“With vessels operating in some of the most remote and spectacular areas of the world, Hurtigruten Expeditions is an ideal partner for introducing groundbreaking technology in the cruise industry,” said Joe Spytek, Chief Executive Officer at Speedcast. “Speedcast’s expertise lies in our ability to combine all available connectivity paths and manage a complete service that offers the highest levels of uptime, availability, and performance. Hurtigruten’s vessels sailing from more traditional GEO coverage areas into lower look-angle locations, such as Antarctica, Alaska, Greenland, and the Chilean fjords, will be bolstered with this new LEO coverage, where available.”
For Hurtigruten Expeditions, Speedcast’s implementation of Starlink brings faster, more reliable internet to its guests and crew.
“As the world leader in exploration travel, it’s only fitting that we bring the world’s most innovative technologies onboard our ships to further enhance the experience and day-to-day lives for our guests, crew, partners and the communities we visit,” said Hurtigruten Expeditions CEO, Asta Lassesen.
Earlier this month, Speedcast announced an agreement with SpaceX’s Starlink to offer the broadband service to enterprise and maritime customers. At the time of the agreement, SpaceX’s Vice President of Starlink Sales, Jonathan Hofeller, commented: “We’re excited to provide Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency internet to Speedcast maritime and enterprise customers. This significant leap in connectivity will open even more possibilities for companies to manage operations anywhere on Earth.”
Speedcast will integrate Starlink connectivity into the multi-path, multi-orbit service that it offers, leveraging its SIGMA network platform and SD-WAN solutions, which make it possible to prioritize traffic, offer guaranteed service levels, and fully manage the customer experience.
Speedcast and Hurtigruten Expeditions’ multi-months trials, integrating the new technology into the managed connectivity service onboard a Hurtigruten Expeditions vessel, showcased how Speedcast’s network design enabled seamless failover from Starlink’s LEO connectivity to Speedcast’s global maritime network.
Three of Hurtigruten Expeditions’ vessels will operate in Antarctica this season, introducing Starlink to Antarctic waters. The new LEO service is slated to add Antarctic maritime coverage in Q4 2022.
“Our partnership with Speedcast and fleetwide introduction of the new service not only puts us ahead of the rest of the cruise industry, it also puts us ahead of the technology. When Starlink introduces maritime coverage in Antarctica and the Arctic, we will be ready,” said Lassesen.
Hurtigruten Expeditions offers free internet connectivity not only for guests, but also for all crew members.
“The introduction of new technology makes it easier for everyone onboard to remain connected with friends, family and loved ones, no matter where they are. We’re leading by example and challenge all cruise lines to make internet free for crew members,” said Lassesen.
Photo Credit: OSCAR FARRERA/Hurtigruten Expeditions
About Hurtigruten Expeditions
With sustainability and exploration at core, Hurtigruten Expeditions founded expedition cruising in 1896. Today, Hurtigruten Expeditions is the world’s largest and leading expedition cruise line. Building on 125 years of experience, Hurtigruten Expeditions offers big adventures on small ships, taking guests to over 250 spectacular destinations in more than 30 countries worldwide. Hurtigruten Expeditions operates a fleet of small, custom-build expedition cruise ships, including the world’s first battery-hybrid powered cruise ships.
Hurtigruten Expeditions is part of Hurtigruten Group, the world leader in exploration travel, which also operates Norwegian Coastal Express, known as ‘the most beautiful voyage in the world’ and extensive land-based activities – including hotels, restaurants and more – through Hurtigruten Svalbard.
Speedcast is a leading communications and IT services provider, delivering critical communications services to the Maritime, Energy, Mining, Media, Telecom, Cruise, NGO, Government, and Enterprise sectors. The company leverages its global network platform to provide fully connected systems that harness technologies and applications to transform what remote operations can achieve. With the world’s most comprehensive network, Speedcast enables faster, seamless pole-to-pole coverage from a global hybrid satellite, fiber, cellular, microwave, MPLS, and IP transport network with direct access to public cloud platforms. The company integrates differentiated technology offerings that provide smarter ways to communicate and distribute content, manage network and remote operations, protect and secure investments, and improve the crew and guest experience. With a passionate customer focus and a strong safety culture, Speedcast serves more than 3,200 customers in over 140 countries. Learn more at www.speedcast.com.
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