KVH Industries, Inc. has launched a new Business Class Service that reportedly provides access to all internet applications and protocols, including streaming media formats, popular Voice over IP (VoIP) services like Skype, and rich media websites.
“The launch of our new Business Class Service culminates a two-year initiative to upgrade our network, increase our capacity, integrate network management capabilities into our core product offering, and devise unrestricted rate plans that provide unprecedented performance while also being cost effective,” said Brent Bruun, Executive Vice President of KVH’s Mobile Broadband Group. “We’re working hard to keep up with the exponential growth of the internet and mobile data services. In the past five years there has been an 18-fold increase in the use of mobile data, while more than half of all internet traffic is now video. There are more than 700,000 apps for iPad, iPhone, and Android devices, millions of which are sold every year. Connectivity services that don’t embrace these new technologies will not be able to keep up with the new cloud-based services and other exciting innovations we are sure to see in coming years. KVH is constantly working to improve our service to ensure we provide our customers with the connectivity they need.”
KVH’s new Unrestricted Rate Plans with Business Class Service address, the company claims, the same challenges that the tiered plans of the world’s major cellular service providers address. Rather than block popular high-bandwidth services or limit access through deliberately reduced speeds, KVH’s new usage-based rate plans reportedly provide a defined amount of data in a monthly package and give the customer the opportunity to buy more service at a reasonable price if the package threshold is exceeded during the month. Heavy users are free to consume as much bandwidth as they desire because they are paying for the additional service. Further, with these new plans, KVH reportedly monitors usage and can quickly add satellite capacity as required to stay ahead of customer demands. Bundles start from 5 GB to 40 GB with additional gigabytes priced at USD 200 (USD 0.20 per megabyte).
On many vessels equipped with maritime VSAT service, crew use accounts for 85-90% of the total bandwidth consumed, so helping vessel owners manage the crew’s internet access is a key aspect of managing the onboard network. KVH also offers internet café and VoIP calling card services to help the crew self-manage their use of the service.
The company has reportedly completed a global network upgrade with the implementation of variable coding, spreading, and modulation (VCSM) technology provided by ViaSat, Inc., KVH’s partner in the mini-VSAT Broadband network. VCSM was deployed in Europe providing a reported 60% increase in the capacity of the mini-VSAT broadband service, and in the Caribbean, where the capacity was increased more than 100%. The entire network is scheduled to be updated by the end of February 2013.
KVH offers two other types of airtime plans for its mini-VSAT Broadband service in addition to its new Unrestricted Rate Plans. For customers with low data volume or irregular month to month data use, KVH offers metered airtime bundles ranging from 50 megabytes to many gigabytes in size and delivered at speeds of 2 Mbps with rates starting at USD 49 per month for 50 MBs of service. For customers desiring a fixed monthly bill, KVH continues to offer traditional speed-based fixed rate plans, which are subject to service restrictions for streaming applications or excessive use.