MIDDLETOWN, R.I., Oct. 7 — Taking a major step toward expanding availability of the mini-VSAT Broadband service, KVH Industries, Inc., (Nasdaq: KVHI) today announced that it has signed a 5-year agreement with GE International Holdings, Inc., (also known as SAT-GE) to lease satellite capacity on its GE-23 satellite to provide coverage in the Pacific Ocean via the satellite’s North Pacific Ku-band Beam. Expected to go live in December 2008, the new coverage area will include Alaska, the west coasts of Canada and the United States, Hawaii and extend into Asia. It represents a significant expansion in the availability of the increasingly popular mini-VSAT Broadband Internet and voice service as well as the latest milestone in the KVH and ViaSat joint effort to provide affordable mobile broadband connections around the globe.
“The extension of mini-VSAT Broadband coverage into the Pacific will allow us to support a significant portion of the world’s shipping lanes, including blue water coverage between Asia and ports in the U.S. and Canada,” said Martin Kits van Heyningen, KVH’s chief executive officer. “Broadband connections at sea are essential for shipboard business activities, more efficient operations, and compliance with increased regulatory requirements. In addition, affordable broadband Internet, e-mail, and telephone services are vital as a means of improving the quality of life and the morale of the crew. We look forward to additional service expansion into new regions around the globe throughout 2009.”
The mini-VSAT Broadband service, along with the KVH TracPhoneÂ® V7 antenna, comprise the first end-to-end 24-inch VSAT hardware, service, and support package available for maritime communications. Together, KVH and ViaSat are already offering Voice over IP phone service and Internet access as fast as 512 Kbps (upload) and 2 Mbps (download) at fixed monthly rates to mariners throughout North America, the Caribbean, the North Atlantic, and Europe.
“Broadband access throughout the North Pacific coverage region is not limited solely to vessels,” explained Don Buchman, ViaSat’s director of mobile broadband. “The large number of business jets already flying the ViaSat ArcLightÂ® system, as well as airliners and government aircraft, will be able to immediately tap into the network in that region.”
Andrew Jordan, president and chief executive officer of SAT-GE, welcomed KVH as a new customer, commenting, “We’re very pleased to see this exciting introduction of mobile services by KVH and ViaSat leveraging the unique connectivity provided by GE-23.”