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Hurtigruten Expeditions introducing SpaceX’s Starlink fleetwide for enhanced connectivity

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Speedcast began initial testing and integration of Starlink’s low earth orbit (LEO) service with Hurtigruten Expeditions back in March
Speedcast partnered with Hurtigruten Expeditions to complete the fleetwide implementation of SpaceX’s Starlink low earth orbit (LEO) broadband connectivity.

Hurtigruten Expeditions and the communications and IT services provider began initial testing and integration of Starlink’s LEO service onboard the fleet in March. The full roll-out will be finished by the end of this month, making Hurtigruten Expeditions one of the first cruise lines to complete a fleetwide installation of the product. SeaDream Yacht Club has already done so. 

‘As the world leader in exploration travel, it’s only fitting that we bring the world’s most innovative technologies onboard our ships to further enhance the experience and day-to-day lives for our guests, crew, partners and the communities we visit,’ said Hurtigruten Expeditions CEO Asta Lassesen.

This also follows Speedcast's success in securing a multi-year contract with Lindblad Expeditions in August.

High-speed, low-latency connectivity in polar regions

Three of Hurtigruten Expeditions’ vessels will operate in Antarctica this season, introducing Starlink to Antarctic waters. The new LEO service is slated to add Antarctic maritime coverage in Q4 2022.

‘As the world leader in exploration travel, it’s only fitting that we bring the world’s most innovative technologies onboard our ships to further enhance the experience and day-to-day lives for our guests, crew, partners and the communities we visit,’ said Hurtigruten Expeditions CEO, Asta Lassesen.

‘Our partnership with Speedcast and fleetwide introduction of the new service not only puts us ahead of the rest of the cruise industry, it also puts us ahead of the technology. When Starlink introduces maritime coverage in Antarctica and the Arctic, we will be ready.’

Bolstered by LEO coverage

Speedcast CEO Joe Spytek also emphasised how remote regions will benefit from the LEO coverage, stating, ‘With vessels operating in some of the most remote and spectacular areas of the world, Hurtigruten Expeditions is an ideal partner for introducing groundbreaking technology in the cruise industry.

‘Speedcast’s expertise lies in our ability to combine all available connectivity paths and manage a complete service that offers the highest levels of uptime, availability, and performance. Hurtigruten’s vessels sailing from more traditional [geostationary orbit] coverage areas into lower look-angle locations, such as Antarctica, Alaska, Greenland, and the Chilean fjords, will be bolstered with this new LEO coverage, where available.’

A complete managed service via Speedcast

Starlink’s broadband connectivity – integrated via Speedcast’s advanced network management technologies – blends the LEO coverage with multiple transmission paths delivered to the fleet as part of a complete managed service, which encompasses traditional GEO orbit coverage, and 4G/5G for Hurtigruten Expeditions’ high-demand applications.

Earlier this month, Speedcast announced an agreement with SpaceX’s Starlink to offer the broadband service to enterprise and maritime customers. Speedcast will integrate Starlink connectivity into the multi-path, multi-orbit service that it offers, leveraging its SIGMA network platform and SD-WAN solutions, which make it possible to prioritise traffic and fully manage the customer experience, and more.

Challenging cruise lines

Hurtigruten Expeditions offers free Internet connectivity to crew as well as passengers. This prompted Lassesen to state, ‘The introduction of new technology makes it easier for everyone onboard to remain connected with friends, family and loved ones, no matter where they are. We’re leading by example and challenge all cruise lines to make Internet free for crew members.’