Iridium help Benegas Brothers Reach Remote Villages in Nepal

Nepal011Guillermo (Willie) and Damian Benegas are twin brothers from Patagonia who run Benegas Brothers Expeditions and take groups on expeditions and adventures all over the world. They were guiding a group on Everest earlier this year when disaster struck – the first earthquake hit Nepal and they quickly set up a rescue project called “Nepal Relief: Building a Path to Recovery”. The project was established to provide aid to remote villages all over Nepal through a system of local porters who delivered food and supplies to some of the worst affected areas. They needed a reliable form of communication to provide logistical support and chose the Iridium Pilot Satellite Terminal. The terminal also provided a hugely appreciated form of communication for locals who were desperate to hear from loved ones for the first time since the earthquake. Willie explains just how vital the terminal was:

“One of the key elements of this project, ‘Nepal Relief: Building a Path to Recovery,’ that has enabled us to succeed is access to a reliable communication system. During our planning and organization, Iridium provided us with the Iridium Pilot Land Station, which allowed us to set up quickly for deployment in a remote location. Powered by the Iridium® global satellite network, the equipment gave us the ability to communicate worldwide with our logistics partners, enabling real-time updates on weather conditions and ETA of supplies. But beyond the technical aspects of our project, and even more importantly, the Iridium Pilot Land Station provided the village of Laprak with a means to communicate with loved ones who had been separated since the first earthquake on April 25th.

I have been using satellite modems and telephones for years in my job as an Everest mountain guide. I have to say that this unit far exceeded my expectations. We have three Iridium Extreme satellite phones with us as well, which have allowed us to create an invaluable network with access to communication 24/7. To get the project off the ground, we were sending guides on remote, exploratory missions to other villages where we are trying to provide relief in the most extreme terrain. Knowing that they were equipped with these reliable tools gave us an incredible peace of mind. We knew that if anything went wrong they could contact us immediately in an emergency situation, and we would be able to respond with help. As of today, we’ve moved 20 metric tons of relief supplies to remote areas of Nepal through our system of hired porters and are continually working to move supplies to all the villages above Laprak. This project will take at least one more month, with a goal to provide enough supplies to last local communities three months.

Nepal022In the end, I am the most grateful for one particular moment that will stay with me forever: seeing the smile of a mother who was finally able to talk to her son who had been air-lifted to Kathmandu. For 20 days, she had no form of communication with him and, as a result, no idea if he was even alive. To see her smile and her eyes shining when she heard his voice again for the first time was amazing. I am so grateful to Iridium for the support they’ve provided to us through equipment and connectivity, but the locals in Laprak must be the most thankful. In so many ways, Iridium has provided a truly critical lifeline to the people of Nepal.” – Guillermo (Willie) Benegas, Benegas Brothers Expeditions

We offer satellite broadband terminal rentals and also have a wide variety of terminal options available to buy. If you are interested in purchasing or renting a satellite terminal please take a look at our website or give us a call to discuss your requirements on 0800 112 3919.

Spotlight on…Thuraya IP Satellite Broadband Terminal

Measuring just 158mm x 225mm x 50mm the Thuraya IP is a truly portable solution.

With the ever-growing popularity of smartphones and tablets it is becoming increasingly more important to be able to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues no matter how remote the location.  At Global Telesat Communications we see this reflected in the demand for the purchase and rental of satellite internet terminals.

The good news it that communication via satellite is becoming more a cost effective and realistic option and the Thuraya IP Satellite Broadband Terminalis a great example of this.

The Thuraya IP will work anywhere in the Thuraya coverage area.

The terminal itself is priced at just £1,750 ex VAT which makes it not only the cheapest terminal in its class but also the fastest as it offers speeds of up to 444kbps.  Furthermore there are a variety of flexible airtime plans including the Entry Plan with no monthly fee – perfect for those who will not be constantly using the terminal.  For high end users the Unlimited Plans even offer a free terminal!

The plans available are as follows:

Service Entry Access Value Unlimited 144k* Unlimited 144k**
Activation Fee $60 $60 FREE FREE FREE
Monthly Fee FREE $48 $540 $3,000 $4,260
Rate per MB $7.50 $4.80 $3.60 FREE FREE
Static IP Address $36.00 $36.00 $36.00 $36.00 $36.00

*Fair Usage Applies of 15GB a Month, if this is passed bandwidth will be throttled .

**Fair Usage Applies of 30GB a Month, if this is passed bandwidth will be throttled.

Pay As You Go plans are also available for the Thuraya IP.

Key Features

  • Internet access – High speed Internet at speeds of up to 444 Kbps.
  • Streaming – Select guaranteed quality of service up to 384 Kbps on demand for bandwidth hungry applications like video streaming.
  • Remote Connectivity – Broadband access to your corporate network, for up-to-date and instant access to company and customer information.
  • Email – Send and receive email via the Internet or other email applications.
  • File transfer – Send and receive large files.

New Iridium Pilot Raises the Bar for Affordable Broadband Maritime Communications

Iridium Communications Inc. announces the launch of its second-generation maritime broadband platform, Iridium Pilot. Iridium Pilot will utilize the Iridium OpenPort service – the world’s first when it comes to fully global maritime broadband.

Iridium Pilot is engineered for enhanced durability to withstand the harshest maritime conditions, all the while packaged in a small, lightweight antenna. It has a fixed, electronically-steerable, phased-array antenna, designed to maintain connectivity in rough seas. Iridium Pilot offers broadband connectivity in addition to three independent phone lines, all of which work simultaneously, with data speeds up to 134 kbps. The platform offers a suite of new capabilities for vessel telecommunications optimization. These capabilities include a built-in firewall for traffic management and a bulk configuration capability to assist in efficiently managing large volumes of units. Its small form factor, enhanced capabilities and flexible service packages make Iridium Pilot an optimal solution for vessels large and small. In addition, Iridium Pilot maintains the best service program in the industry, the Iridium Global Service Program, and the industry’s only standard five-year limited warranty.

The new Iridium Pilot works through the global Iridium OpenPort system

“We currently see a rapid migration from legacy narrowband services to new generation broadband solutions in the maritime satellite communications market,” said Richard Roithner, Senior Consultant at Euroconsult. “MSS broadband solutions, in particular those positioned in the lower price ranges, have seen significant growth over the last two years increasing at around 120 percent per year. Euroconsult projects growth to continue in the coming years as these systems provide an attractive value proposition for low- and medium-end markets, including fishing, shipping and leisure vessels, to provide safety communications, enhance ship operations, improve crew welfare as well as provide complementary services for VSAT. Our research has found that data rates of around 128kbps are sufficient for the majority of applications used onboard vessels today.”

Iridium Pilot is the latest example of Iridium’s long-term commitment to investment and innovation focused on satisfying communications needs around the globe. The company’s goal is to continually improve the customer experience in new and existing markets in the farthest reaches of the world now and into the future.

“Importantly, Iridium Pilot will be compatible with Iridium’s next generation satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT,” said Joel Thompson, vice president, product management, Iridium. “Iridium NEXT, scheduled for deployment starting in 2015, is the largest commercial space program underway today. Ship operators installing Iridium Pilot can have the confidence that their equipment will be supported well beyond 2020.”

Thrane & Thrane signs up as Inmarsat Global Xpress launch manufacturer

Thrane & Thrane has signed an agreement to be a key launch manufacturer for Inmarsat‘s forthcoming Global Xpress service. The new Ka-band satellite Internet service is expected to go live in 2013, offering download speeds of up to 50Mbps. Thrane & Thrane will add the new terminals to its Sailor range for Global Xpress customers in the maritime market.

Thrane & Thrane has shipped more than 20,000 Sailor FleetBroadband terminals since the launch of Inmarsat’s current flagship service in November 2007. As a Global Xpress launch manufacturer, Thrane & Thrane is uniquely positioned to offer high-quality L-/Ka-band combination packages in line with Inmarsat’s expectations.