On September 13, SES announced it partnered with SpaceX's Starlink to provide connectivity for the cruise industry. The collaboration introduces the industry's first end-to-end integrated MEO-LEO (multi-orbit) service, offering cruise operators an unprecedented bandwidth capacity of up to 3 Gbps (Gigabits per second) on every ship with connectivity from SES'-operated constellation of mPOWER satellites and SpaceX's Starlink service.
For the very first time, cruise operators will have access to a single SES-managed solution, seamlessly combining Starlink's low-earth orbit (LEO) and SES's medium earth orbit (MEO) services. This offering, aptly named "SES Cruise mPOWERED + Starlink," will deliver high-speed, secure connectivity 24/7 to cruise ships and their passengers, regardless of their location in remote oceans.
“We are excited to collaborate with SES on a joint solution that combines the reach and capacity of both satellite constellations to offer a solution unlike any other in the market,” said Chad Gibbs, SpaceX’s Vice President of Starlink Business Operations.
“At SES, we strive to provide a world-class connectivity experience for our cruise customers and deliver the same level of service they would enjoy on land,” said John-Paul Hemingway, Chief Strategy Officer at SES. “By being the only one in the cruise industry to expand our unique multi-orbit GEO and MEO network to utilise LEO, we believe it opens new opportunities for us to meet the needs of cruise guests and crew members, and the operational requirements of cruise operators to accelerate their digital transformations – wherever they may be," they stated.
SES has been delivering connectivity services directly to cruise operators for the past decade. This partnership with SpaceX's Starlink to incorporate LEO-based service demonstrates their commitment to enhancing the customer experience for both cruise operators and guests.
The importance of reliable, high-performance connectivity for the cruise industry has surged since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Cruise operators are now pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation to meet the ever-growing expectations of passengers and stakeholders. Furthermore, they face the challenge of addressing carbon emissions and complying with new maritime regulations like CII and EEXI.
Scheduled to be available in Q4 2023 (fourth quarter of the year), SES Cruise mPOWERED + Starlink is set to meet the escalating demands of cruise lines, enhancing the guest experience, optimizing smart ship operations, and attracting crew members. "[...] With its fully managed end-to-end, best-in-industry bandwidth and low-latency performance, the solution will set an entirely new standard for ship connectivity worldwide and minimise upfront capital costs and ongoing operational expenditure," state SES representatives. The cruise industry is on the brink of a transformative connectivity revolution that promises to redefine the way passengers and crew experience life at sea.
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