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Satcomms takes boating to new heights

Inmarsat to provide broadband data, voice communication to Volvo Ocean Race competitorsrn

The Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015 will be the most digitally connected around-the-world race in history, featuring the first purpose-built, one-design racing boat geared for 24/7 satellite communications to an audience of tens of millions. Inmarsat will be providing global broadband data and voice communication services for the competitors and race support teams.

Working with the Volvo Ocean Race for a fourth consecutive edition, Inmarsat’s global satellite network will be responsible for delivering cutting-edge safety services, vessel tracking capabilities, audio and video communications and social media access during the nine-month competition.

Each yacht will have a trained onboard reporter (OBR), who will be responsible for delivering multiple hours of broadcast and digital content daily during the course of the race.  More than 2,000 applications are currently being considered by Volvo Ocean Race for the OBR roles.

Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race which celebrates its 40th anniversary in September, says: “Inmarsat performed flawlessly over the last three editions and we are sure they will do so again with a boat which has been purpose-built with communications very much in mind.

“We look forward to Inmarsat making this the most watched and most connected yacht race in the world aimed at a new online audience of people who simply love the kind of life-at-the-extreme excitement we serve up day in day out.”

Inmarsat will supply the network and satellite services for the FleetBroadband 500 (FB500), FleetBroadband 250 (FB 250) and Inmarsat C safety services and tracking devices on board the new one-design Volvo Ocean 65 race yachts.

FB500, Inmarsat’s flagship maritime service, delivers an always-on connection of up to 432kbps for applications such as email, internet access, real-time electronic charts and weather reporting. FB500 also features streaming IP with guaranteed connection rates of up to 256kbps available on demand, for live applications such as HD video streaming.

In addition to Inmarsat C safety services and tracking devices, each of the race yachts will carry an IsatPhone Pro satellite phone in their liferaft packs.

On shore, Volvo Ocean Race’s support teams will be equipped with Inmarsat’s Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) land terminals, enabling them to set-up a full broadband communications suite at every port the race visits. Using BGAN, the support teams will be able to stay connected to the race crews wherever they are on an ocean.