OmniAccess To Lease Bandwidth from Panasonic Avionics

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PARIS — Maritime satellite communications provider OmniAccess on Sept. 23 said it had purchased current and future satellite broadband capacity from Panasonic Avionics as part of a strategic partnership between the two companies.

OmniAccess, based in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, said it would deploy the capacity on its existing fleet of more than 250 ships — mainly super yachts and cruise vessels — and would explore ways to work with Panasonic in aeronautical broadband delivery as well. The company did not disclose the size or duration of its bandwidth lease from Panasonic.

OmniAccess said it would use the Ku-band satellite bandwidth that Panasonic has secured on satellite fleet operator Intelsat’s coming Epic high-throughput satellites and on Eutelsat’s 172B satellite. Scheduled for launch in 2017 and to operate at 172 degrees east longitude, Eutelsat 172B will carry a 1.8-gigabits-per-second high-throughput beam for the Pacific Ocean region.

“By leveraging Panasonic’s unique XTX [extremely high-throughput] solutions and scale of operations, we can guarantee our clients will remain at the very forefront” of mobile broadband access, OmniAccess Chief Executive Bertrand Hartman said in a statement. “Furthermore, Panasonic’s unparalleled expertise in aeronautical entertainment systems and content-delivery solutions offers many promising prospects.”

Hartman said OmniAccess’ Plexus-TV yacht and cruise ship service could leverage the Panasonic partnership to reach new markets.

Lake Forest, California-based Panasonic Avionics is focused on aeronautical broadband but earlier this year purchased maritime satellite services provider ITC Global.

Panasonic and other companies are now in a race to line up ship fleets — through partnership or acquisition — to generate the scale economies needed to monetize their satellite bandwidth purchases.