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Anglo-Eastern expects massive Starlink roll-out

Image: SpaceX Starlink satellites in space stacked together before deployment.
Anglo-Eastern is trialing Starlink maritime broadband and expects at least 200 vessels to use the service by year end.

The ship manager announced the first “formal” installation of Starlink under a preliminary order for 12 vessels across the trading patterns and vessel segments Anglo-Eastern operates in.

Prior to this publicly announced installation, Anglo-Eastern had deployed Starlink’s RV system – one developed for use in recreational vehicles – on multiple vessels, said Torbjorn Dimblad, Chief Information Officer of Anglo-Eastern. Reports of Starlink's RV system being used for yachts and small vessels are widespread as it offers the mobile connection needed for moving assets.

 “Overnight, these ships became as connected as any office or home, affording the crew unprecedented access to friends and family while enabling an entirely new level of collaboration between ship and shore,” said Dimblad.

Anglo-Eastern said it expects at least 200 installations across its fleet by the end of 2023 with more to follow.

Starlink, a service offered by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, uses Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites to provide higher bandwidth and lower-latency broadband connections compared to traditional geostationary (GEO) satellites.

For further details on the implications of LEO connectivity on maritime operations, watch this on-demand webinar “Debunking LEO and Cloud for Maritime Industry” featuring speakers from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Speedcast and Hurtigruten.

The global ship manager expects at least 200 installations across its fleet by year-end, with more to follow.

The additional bandwidth and network capacity will help make the most of the hardware onboard vessels and the digital infrastructure on land, said Anglo-Eastern. Bandwidth demand has increased significantly in recent years, spurred by the adoption of new operational technologies and pandemic-driven demand for onboard media and video calls home for crews.

“Initially, all of that additional bandwidth will go to doing what we do today, only more of it and faster” said Bjorn Hojgaard, Chief Executive Officer of Anglo-Eastern.

LEO is a growth area for the satcoms industry with multiple players backed by large companies. Anglo-Eastern use competitor networks from OneWeb and Project Kuiper as well as Starlink. 

“Soon seafarers will be ‘always-on’, enjoying the same connectivity that we ashore have been used to. The ship will become a seamless extension of the office, where members of the team just happen to be closer to the machinery… The possibilities are endless, and I believe this will help make our industry safer and more attractive for current and future generations,” said Hojgaard.