-Operators Cite Increase in Internet Speeds and Ability for Passengers and Crew to Do Much More Online While Onboard Vessels-
After launching its Terrestrial Broadband Network (TBN) just more than one year ago, MTN Communications (MTN) announces the number of TBN-connected cruise ships has doubled and covered regions have tripled.
Since the MTN TBN kick-off in Alaska in the Summer 2013 cruise season, several MTN partners, including Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises, are leveraging this new technology to enrich their passenger and crew communications experience. Thanks in part to this new technology, the MTN hybrid network now delivers approximately 10 Terabytes of data daily. The company enabled more than 33 million Internet logins last year.
The MTN TBN optimizes the onboard bandwidth available to passengers and crew, especially when their ships enter port. TBN connectivity enables up to six times more bandwidth for communications and content sharing on the ship. Passengers and crew can now bring their daily online requirements to sea – including access to social media, infotainment, content and more.
Passengers and crew today expect faster, land-like connectivity at sea. The challenge for operators has been staying ahead of demand while dealing with the cost of adding what has traditionally been only satellite bandwidth. MTN is a proven provider that enables disparate systems from multiple providers to seamlessly work together for “smart hand-off and switch over,” with a focus on user experience, cost and revenue growth.
MTN launched its TBN as one key component of its advanced hybrid communications ecosystem. It is transforming communications at sea by enabling ships to connect through a first-ever hybrid network that seamlessly switches from satellite to the TBN, delivering higher network performance and speeds. This ecosystem is powered through smart computing and caching for super-efficient use of bandwidth onboard. And the company’s new Connect@Sea Internet platform delivers a higher level of service, along with new per-megabyte billing versus per-minute. The MTN TBN also optimizes corporate IT data so it flows through vessel networks more efficiently, freeing up space for additional applications.
Since launching the TBN on cruise ships in Alaska last year, the company has expanded this new form of connectivity beyond Alaska. MTN access points now cover the East and West Coasts of the U.S., the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and the United Kingdom, the highest trafficked cruising areas.
“The reason behind launching the MTN TBN was to allow our customers to leverage a more practical communications ‘pipe’ while in port, versus costly satellite bandwidth,” said Brent Horwitz, senior vice president and general manager, cruise and ferry services, MTN. “In addition, the TBN enables greater throughput on the vessel for increasing IT and corporate communications demands. This differentiator delivers higher Internet speeds, a perk for crew retention and satisfaction. Crew no longer have to get off their ship and spend port days online catching up with family and personal business. Now they can quickly connect right from their ship, freeing up time for them to better enjoy being in-port. This also creates an improved passenger experience. Lastly, it generates further revenue for the operator.”
MTN’s hybrid approach of satellite and TBN connectivity delivers the industry’s most sophisticated service to maintain multiple types of connections simultaneously. This enables the vessels to use the fastest data path available, such as accessing the TBN near and in ports. Broadband antenna tracking and stabilization systems help the ships “lock” onto MTN TBN access points in-port with no impact to end users during the switchover. Shipboard data centers are equipped with the industry’s most advanced processing technologies to deliver the improved online experience. MTN continues to grow the regional scope of its TBN. Expanded higher throughput Internet, TV and calling services allow guests and crew members to stay connected and productive at sea.