Australian railways to use Iridium system

Australia's Telstra has awarded an eight-year contract valued at between $3 million and $3.5 million to Beam Communications to supply Iridium-based satellite equipment as part of a new interstate communication infrastructure for the Australian Rail Track Corp. Ltd (ARTC).


The new ARTC rail communication system will provide a single integrated network covering more than 10,000 kilometers of rail track nationwide. It will replace older technologies, such as two-way radios and CDMA devices, with Telstra's Next G technology with satellite backup, allowing trains and controllers to communicate seamlessly across the entire national rail network.


Telstra will integrate the Iridium circuit-switched data service into its network infrastructure, providing satellite interfaces for real-time data transmission to and from locomotives across the service area as well as backup voice channels for emergency communications.


Locomotives will be fitted with Beam satellite voice and data terminals, integrated into the trains' communication systems. Beam will also supply its SatRADIO system for use in tunnels.

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