UK-based low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite firm OneWeb has joined forces with value-added reseller Speedcast and German shipping company F. Laeisz to launch a maritime connectivity service. The collaboration, involving extensive trials, has brought about the first deployment of OneWeb’s maritime terminals aboard the Research Vessel Polarstern, managed by F. Laeisz, and engaged in polar research. Since there is a scarcity of terrestrial base stations in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, the use of maritime satellite connectivity becomes crucial.

Integrated via Speedcast’s SIGMA network management platform for traffic prioritization, the company is providing a hybrid connectivity solution including LEO-based and L-band services to augment the experience on the Polarstern. Additionally, Speedcast has installed Intellian’s latest maritime user terminal, the OW70M, which features a heating module for extreme environments.

Commenting on the partnership, Andre Eerland, Vice President, Commercial Maritime at Speedcast, said, “This project represents an important step forward in a changing industry landscape, where customers now have more options than ever to ensure reliable and seamless connectivity while operating in the most remote places on earth.” He added, “We’re proud to work with innovative partners, such as OneWeb and Intellian, to deliver critical connectivity solutions as customers continue to embrace the benefits of multi-path, multi-orbit technologies.”

While the satellite industry’s potential has long been debated, the maritime sector has emerged as an ideal application. Ships have used satellite connectivity to varying extents, but LEO satellite technology promises significantly improved bandwidth, which is vital during extended oceanic voyages.