Telecommunications company Marlink is embarking on a unique expedition with satellite operator Eutelsat OneWeb, bringing space-based connectivity aboard luxury icebreaker cruise ship, Le Commandant Charcot. Managed by Ponant, the ship is touted as the world’s only luxury icebreaker and is now set to sail the remote icy seas with GEO VSAT, LEO and 4G/5G cellular services.

Through this collaborative effort, Marlink and Eutelsat OneWeb have implemented a hybrid network system targeting not only operational effectiveness, but also leisure and connectivity experiences for guests. A layered, encrypted network underpins the security of this telecommunication infrastructure providing robust privacy shields.

An intriguing aspect of this unique setup is its capacity to segregate crew traffic and operational systems on the same terminal. This arrangement augments the operational efficiency of the ship’s bridge, engineers, and shore teams. Additionally, it pioneers in offering exceptional internet accessibility in remote regions, thereby enriching the experience for passengers who enjoy sharing their moments online as they unfold.

Carole Plessy, VP Europe and Maritime, Eutelsat OneWeb acknowledged this as a new frontier in broadband services for maritime, using LEO satellites to extend global connectivity even in high seas. “Marlink and our services will facilitate PONANT’s ongoing digital evolution, in both offshore and onshore areas. We are eager to further our relationship with Marlink, an esteemed industry leader,” Plessy emphasised.

Tore Morten Olsen, President, Maritime, Marlink also voiced his delight being able to utilize their expertise by adding Eutelsat OneWeb’s LEO solution to the hybrid network available onboard Le Commandant Charcot. He stated, “The LEO constellation from Eutelsat OneWeb delivers a new level of user experience onboard ship, birthing fresh applications which enhance safer, more efficient sailing.”

The Eutelsat Group has recently completed its LEO constellation which is operational down to 25 degrees latitude. It consists of a remarkable 634 satellites. The telecommunications entity, formed by the merger of Eutelsat and OneWeb in September, is enthusiastic about new market opportunities opened by its combined GEO/LEO offering. The work is still in progress on their ground station infrastructure which will enable global maritime services, but they are optimistic about the possibilities this union has created. The fixed connectivity, government services, mobile connectivity, and Eutelsat’s core broadcast and video services presence, all contribute to their expanded portfolio.