Inmarsat has flicked the switch on a new satellite service that gives users access to broadband services almost anywhere in the world.
Six years in development, the Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service enables the transmission of voice and broadband data using lightweight satellite terminals - the smallest of which is about half the size of a laptop.
The service is designed for mobile users who want broadband access while working with an "unreliable or non-existent telecoms infrastructure" giving them the opportunity to set up office wherever they are.
BGAN offers speeds of up to 492kbps and is initially available across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. North and South America should come on stream by summer next year giving broadband coverage across 85 per cent of the world's land mass and 98 per cent of the world's population.
"BGAN delivers broadband where other networks can't," said Inmarsat COO Michael Butler in a statement. "It enables anyone to set up a broadband mobile office in minutes and remain fully productive - wherever they are on the planet." ®