by Staff Writers
Middletown RI (SPX) Jan 11, 2013
In a precedent-setting move for the maritime satellite communications market, industry leader KVH Industries, Inc. is launching new Unrestricted Rate Plans featuring Business Class Service for its mini-VSAT Broadband network.
Designed to meet the booming demand for maritime connectivity, KVH's new Business Class Service provides unrestricted, prioritized, multimegabit service with unfettered access to all Internet applications and protocols, including streaming media formats, popular Voice over IP (VoIP) services like Skype, and rich media websites.
This premium quality service, traditionally only available with very expensive dedicated satellite capacity and used exclusively by high-end cruise ship or megayacht customers, is competitively priced with other shared maritime VSAT services, but delivers significantly faster service and a superior user experience.
"The launch of our new Business Class Service culminates a two-year initiative to upgrade our network, increase our capacity, integrate network management capabilities into our core product offering, and devise unrestricted rate plans that provide unprecedented performance while also being cost effective," said Brent Bruun, Executive Vice President of KVH's Mobile Broadband Group.
"We're working hard to keep up with the exponential growth of the Internet and mobile data services. In the past five years there has been an 18-fold increase in the use of mobile data, while more than half of all Internet traffic is now video. There are more than 700,000 apps for iPad, iPhone, and Android devices, millions of which are sold every year.
Connectivity services that don't embrace these new technologies will not be able to keep up with the new cloud-based services and other exciting innovations we are sure to see in coming years. KVH is constantly working to improve our service to ensure we provide our customers with the connectivity they need."
KVH's new Unrestricted Rate Plans with Business Class Service address the same challenges that the tiered plans of the world's major cellular service providers address.
Rather than block popular high-bandwidth services or limit access through deliberately reduced speeds, KVH's new transparent, usage-based rate plans provide a defined amount of data in a monthly package and give the customer the opportunity to buy more service at a reasonable price if the package threshold is exceeded during the month.
Heavy users are free to consume as much bandwidth as they desire because they are paying for the additional service. Further, with these new plans, KVH dynamically monitors usage and can quickly add satellite capacity as required to stay ahead of customer demands.
With bundles from 5 GB to 40 GB and additional gigabytes for as little as $200 ($0.20 per megabyte), these new plans are faster than comparably priced fixed rate plans and offer speeds as high as 4 Mbps.
To support its new Business Class Service, KVH has incorporated the features of its CommBox Ship/Shore Network Manager right into the integrated belowdecks unit of its new TracPhone V7-IP and TracPhone V11 products, providing customers with the tools they need to manage this powerful service efficiently and control their airtime costs.
This fully integrated solution provides the ability to set up distinct, firewalled networks for operations and crew use. On many vessels equipped with maritime VSAT service, crew use accounts for 85-90% of the total bandwidth consumed, so helping vessel owners manage the crew's Internet access is a key aspect of managing the onboard network.
KVH also offers Internet cafe and VoIP calling card services to help the crew self-manage their use of the service. At the owner's discretion, industry-leading transmission optimization and onboard caching, least cost routing, and e-mail management are also available as part of the CommBox solution.
To ensure that fast, high-quality service is delivered to all KVH customers, the company has nearly completed a global network upgrade with the implementation of advanced Variable Coding, Spreading, and Modulation (VCSM) technology provided by ViaSat, Inc., KVH's partner in the mini-VSAT Broadband network.
VCSM was deployed in the European region in November, providing a 60% increase in the capacity of the mini-VSAT Broadband service, and in the Caribbean region in December, where the capacity was increased more than 100%. The entire network is scheduled to be updated by the end of February 2013.
KVH expects the new mini-VSAT Broadband Unrestricted Rate Plans to be popular with customers who don't want to be constrained by the restrictions and inherently lower data speeds of fixed rate plans.
Fixed rate plans are often designed to prevent a small percentage of customers from consuming a disproportionate amount of the available bandwidth.
These plans typically block access to popular websites with rich media content, prevent transmission of video and other multimedia protocols, block VoIP services like Skype, and slow data rates for heavy users as pre-defined thresholds are reached.
With mini-VSAT Broadband's Unrestricted Rate Plans, customers are not prevented from enjoying all of the modern web content that is transforming the Internet into a multimedia experience accessed by a plethora of new devices.
KVH offers two other types of airtime plans for its mini-VSAT Broadband service in addition to its new Unrestricted Rate Plans.
For customers with low data volume or irregular month to month data use, KVH offers metered airtime bundles ranging from 50 megabytes to many gigabytes in size and delivered at speeds as fast as 2 Mbps with rates starting as low as $49 per month for 50 MBs of service.
For customers desiring a fixed monthly bill, KVH continues to offer traditional speed-based fixed rate plans, which are subject to service restrictions for streaming applications or excessive use. The new Unrestricted Rate Plans round out the industry's broadest, most competitive, and most innovative airtime service plan portfolio.
With more than 2,500 compatible onboard terminals sold, KVH's mini-VSAT Broadband service is the world's fastest growing, most popular maritime VSAT solution, according to three independent industry research reports published in 2012 by Euroconsult, NSR, and Comsys.
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