The Business Class Service will provide unrestricted, prioritised, multimegabit service with unfettered access to all internet applications and protocols, including streaming media formats, Voice over IP (VoIP) services like Skype, and media-heavy websites.
KVH says that the new service will be “competitively priced” when compared to other shared maritime VSAT services.
“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 says that, rather than block high-bandwidth services or limit access through deliberately reduced speeds, its new usage-based rate plans provide a defined amount of data in a monthly package and give the customer the opportunity to buy more service if the package threshold is exceeded during the month.
Heavy users can accordingly consume as much bandwidth as they desire because they are paying for that additional service. Further, with these new plans, KVH says it will dynamically monitor usage and can add satellite capacity as required.
Bundles range from 5 GB to 40 GB, with additional gigabytes starting from $200 ($0.20 per megabyte), offering speeds up to 4 Mbps.
To support the Business Class Service, KVH has incorporated the features of its CommBox Ship/Shore Network Manager into the integrated below decks unit of its new TracPhone V7-IP and TracPhone V11 products.
Users can manage a range of aspects of the service from this unit, and will be able to set up distinct, firewalled networks for operations and crew use.
KVH says that it is also offering internet café and VoIP calling card services to help the crew self-manage their use of the service. Transmission optimisation and onboard caching, least cost routing and e-mail management are additionally available as part of the CommBox solution, at the owner’s discretion.
In related news, KVH has also recently announced that it has doubled the capacity of its mini-VSAT Broadband network in the Caribbean region.
This capacity increase was provided as part of its ongoing global network upgrade involving deployment of Variable Coding, Spreading, and Modulation (VCSM) technology provided by ViaSat, KVH’s partner in the mini-VSAT Broadband network.
This major upgrade to the network followed closely after previously announced improvements that increased capacity in Europe by more than 60 per cent.
“The Caribbean region upgrade is part of our planned expansion to support the increased demand of our rapidly growing customer base,” said Mr Bruun.
“We are rolling out a new version of our modulation technology that enables us to handle transmissions much more efficiently, thereby increasing the amount of data that our network can carry.”
“Thanks to our end-to-end design approach, we are able to upgrade the software in our large population of fielded TracPhone systems over the air, providing a future-proof solution that we continue to improve as we add new features and network enhancements.”