Marlink and the offshore communications provider Tampnet have signed a partner agreement for the delivery of offshore 4G broadband services in the North Sea.
The agreement forms the foundation for Marlink to integrate low-latency LTE-based 4G services into its established VSAT and MSS portfolio, which is widely used by offshore support vessels for operational and crew communication working in the region.
A key aspect of Tampnet's 4G infrastructure service for offshore communication is low latency, with round trip delay between offshore vessels and client corporate offices expected to be no more than 25-35ms. This is helpful for delay sensitive applications such as video calling or machine-to-machine communication on critical, specialist operations. By adding 4G to its portfolio of connectivity services, Marlink can offer its offshore customers much higher throughput compared to other carriers in remote locations.
Tampnet's 4G service is built on top of its 2500km fibre-based network, which connects the oil platforms in the North Sea. The 4G signal is routed to rigs that do not have a fibre connection, vessels or other mobile assets via base stations mounted to connected rigs and other fixed installations.
Tampnet is building a single LTE based network covering the Norwegian, British and Danish sectors of the North Sea, enabling vessels to move freely from different areas of operation without losing connectivity. The technology is as flexible as the 4G mobile technology used onshore and planned roaming agreements will enable vessels to retain their connectivity near the coast and in port.
Tore Morten Olsen, who heads maritime satcoms at Marlink's parent company Airbus Defence and Space, said: "Our partnership with Tampnet will help us to meet a significant market requirement and is integral to the development of hybrid, low-latency connectivity solutions where VSAT, MSS, 4G and Wi-Fi combine to provide a seamless user-experience that offers excellent value due to automatic, least-cost routing. Furthermore, it is reassuring for us as a service provider that Tampnet's LTE network is based on the largest fibre based offshore communication network in the world."