KVH Industries, Inc., (Nasdaq: KVHI) recently shipped its 3,000th TracPhone terminal for the mini-VSAT Broadband network, extending the company’s lead as the provider of the world’s most widely used maritime VSAT service. Launched in 2007, KVH’s maritime broadband service was the first to use spread spectrum technology that enabled small, easy-to-install onboard terminals to receive fast, affordable VSAT quality data connections offshore. KVH grew its service to become the world’s largest maritime VSAT network through a geographic coverage rollout that is now complete and covers all the world’s oceans.
“We built the mini-VSAT Broadband network because we saw a huge opportunity from a potential market of 250,000 commercial, government, and leisure vessels that needed affordable offshore data connections that would allow crew members to use the Internet onboard and benefit from the efficiencies of the digital world,” said Martin Kits van Heyningen, KVH’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our global network is now complete, and our TracPhone product line offers a complete end-to-end solution to quickly and easily bring the benefits of fast, affordable VSAT service to vessels.”
The mini-VSAT Broadband network is unique in that it is the only complete, end-to-end solution for offshore connectivity. KVH designs and manufactures the onboard TracPhone terminals and antennas, owns the Earth station equipment, leases the satellite capacity, manages the network, and provides 24/7/365 after-sale support. By leveraging spread spectrum modem technology from ViaSat (Nasdaq: VSAT), KVH can offer terminals with antennas that are 85% smaller than competing VSAT solutions. Because KVH manufactures the onboard hardware, the company can integrate the full rack of discrete belowdecks equipment typically used on traditional VSAT systems into a single, streamlined unit that is significantly easier to deploy and inherently more reliable than competing VSAT solutions.
KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband network uses a combination of 14 Ku-band transponders to provide coverage throughout the northern hemisphere and all of the major continents in the southern hemisphere. This creates one of the industry’s widest Ku-band VSAT networks, which is available only to owners of KVH’s TracPhone V-series systems. The compact TracPhone V3, with its 37 cm (14.5 inch) antenna and affordable rate plans (starting at only $49 per month for 50 MB of service), is the perfect solution for smaller vessels.
The enterprise-grade TracPhone V7-IP offers a range of airtime service plans, including low-priced metered plans, traditional speed-based, fixed-rate plans, and the company’s new unrestricted rate plans with Business Class Service. Unrestricted plans allow customers to stream audio or video content to or from their vessels or use popular VoIP services like Skype, protocols often blocked on other VSAT plans due to the large amount of bandwidth they consume.
In 2012, KVH completed its rollout of a major upgrade to the mini-VSAT Broadband network, adding three global C-band transponders to deliver a fully global overlay to the Ku-band service. The dual-modeTracPhone V11 antenna seamlessly tracks both C- and Ku-band satellites, making it the only 1-meter maritime VSAT antenna to deliver seamless, fully global coverage.
The maritime customer base for KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband service is diverse, including the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, ship management leaders like Vroon and V.Ships, commercial fishing companies, offshore service vessels, and yacht owners. To support these mariners, KVH operates a 24/7/365 customer support center in its Middletown, RI, headquarters as well as sales support offices in Singapore, Japan, Denmark, and Norway and a technical support network that services the 125 largest ports worldwide.