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Large oil rigs in the middle of the ocean typically don’t move around much. Built to withstand the rigors of drilling in choppy waters and rough weather, the rigs, also known as platforms, depend on workboats to run errands for the oil companies. Thousands of these agile workboats travel from shore to platform and back again, ferrying supplies and crew changes—and sometimes serving as transport for engineers and other personnel who need to reach the oil rigs to perform services or repairs.
Both crew and passengers aboard work vessels require high-quality communications to stay connected and to conduct business online, including making day-to-day repairs. For example, a worker may take photographs of a problem area on a rig and send them electronically to an office onshore where they can be analyzed and a determination made on how to fix the problem. But all of this requires advanced, reliable broadband communications both on the rigs and on the workboats that shuttle back and forth.
That’s where Hughes comes in. In January 2009, Hughes launched the Hughes Maritime Broadband Service, a bundled package that provides reliable offshore broadband communications, as well as voice and fax services, to workboats and platforms. Utilizing the advanced Hughes HX200 broadband satellite router, the service offers unlimited Internet access, domestic long distance telephone service via Voice over IP (VoIP), and committed information rates (CIR) for premium service and guaranteed bandwidth.
A fully managed service, the comprehensive Hughes maritime offering also includes network monitoring, proactive alerts, position location update, and monthly reporting. Utilizing the IPoS/DVB-S2 standard with Adaptive Coding & Modulation (ACM), which yields the highest satellite bandwidth efficiency, the Hughes maritime service is available with either fixed or stabilized antennas as small as 60 cm—an industry first. And high service level agreements are made possible with the combination of ACM on the outbound channel and Adaptive Inroute Selection (AIS) on the return channels.
A number of customers are already taking advantage of the Hughes Maritime Broadband Service in the Gulf of Mexico and the western Caribbean. Complementary service is also available from Hughes Europe operations, offering coverage in the North Sea and the Mediterranean. In addition, the service provides Hughes customers with automatic roaming between the U.S. and Europe.
“The Hughes Maritime Broadband Service raises the bar for offshore broadband communications,” said BT Shyamakrishnan, senior director, International Division of Hughes. “In fact, with the excellent satellite footprint coverage in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as coastal U.S. waters, the Hughes Maritime Broadband Service is fast becoming the new standard. Competitively priced service plans, coupled with best-of-breed technology, make this service a highly attractive package for discriminating oil and gas industry customers.”
But workboats and rigs aren’t the only vessels to benefit from the Hughes Maritime Broadband Service. The pioneering use of smaller-footprint, stabilized antennas makes the service a viable option for boats as small as 60 feet long, providing the leisure yacht market and other smaller craft with superior and cost-effective broadband service— whenever they need to communicate from ship to shore and back again.