Inmarsat switches on $1.5b satellite service

Britain's Inmarsat switched on the first phase of its long-awaited $1.5 billion satellite network, giving users across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia access to simultaneous voice and broadband Internet service, an Associated Press report said.


London-based Inmarsat, which operates a constellation of satellites that enable voice and data services, said its Broadband Global Area Network, or BGAN, will allow data transfer speeds of up to 492Kbps, the report said.


The new service has already been used on a trial basis by several of Inmarsat's customers, including the United Nations, the Red Cross and oil companies.


The company has been working on the service for six years and launched two of the world's largest commercial satellites, each the size of a London double decker bus and weighing six tons, in March and November to deliver coverage, the report said.