Grandi Navi Veloci Introduces Broadband and GSM on Cruise-Ferries With New Satellite Service Provided by WINS
Grandi Navi Veloci, a leading company in passenger and goods transport
throughout the Mediterranean, and WINS, a joint venture set up
by Skylogic Italia (Eutelsat's broadband affiliate) and Maltasat
International, today launched a satellite-based communications
network on the first two of eight luxury cruise-ferries sailing
in the Western Mediterranean.
The new network enables Grandi Navi Veloci to extend GSM telephony
and broadband services to passengers and crew at sea. The company's
complete fleet of eight GNV cruise-ferries is expected to be equipped
before the end of the year.
The new service was officially launched on May 22 in the port of
Genoa on La Superba, a Grandi Navi Veloci luxury cruise-ferry which
can transport 3,000 passengers, 1,000 cars, 2500 linear metres of
trucks. The launch event was attended by Dr. Aldo Grimaldi, President
of Grandi Navi Veloci, Giuliano Berretta, CEO of Eutelsat, Arduino
Patacchini Chairman of Skylogic Italia and Tony Mejlaq, Chairman
of WINS in the presence of Austin Gatt, Malta's Minister for Investment,
Industry and Information Technology.
How it works :
The service provided by WINS is based on Skylogic Italia's D-STAR
system that uses satellite to provide a two-way high-speed connection
between vessels and the Internet backbone via its teleport in Turin.
For the GSM service WINS has installed a routing platform at the
Turin teleport which connects the local GSM network on board vessels
with the global GSM network via Maltasat International's gateway
facilities and an agreement with Vodafone Malta. The turnkey package
provided by WINS includes procurement, installation and maintenance
of networks onboard ships, complete accounting and billing.
The equipment deployed on GNV vessels is made up of a stabilised
1.2 metre antenna which communicates with capacity on Eutelsat's
ATLANTIC BIRD(TM) 1 satellite and which is housed in a radome located
on the upper deck. The antenna is connected to a modem which interfaces
with the on-board Internet network (wired and wireless) and four
cellular base stations for the GSM network.
As GNV ships sail from the coast and lose the terrestrial GSM signal,
passengers will see a network signal on their mobile phones indicating
they can place calls and use SMS via international roaming arrangements.
Using VOIP, passengers can also call from cabins and suites with
fixed phones as well as from the public phone facility at rates
of 1.5EUR a minute. Internet access is available on passengers'
individual laptops through a Wi-Fi network and at eight fixed facilities
located onboard, at rates of 10 to 20EUR an hour, depending on time
of day. Passengers will pay for fixed phone and Internet access
using GNV-branded prepaid calling cards at values of 5, 10 and 20EUR
or by credit card.
In addition to passenger services the network installed by WINS
brings the benefits of remote credit card authorisations for payments
and e-mail communication in order to coordinate logistics for goods
transport. Grandi Navi Veloci will also use the network for real-time
connection of its headquarters in Genoa with the Captain's Bridge
in order to streamline supply management logistics and carry-out
on land control of the safety system which governs access to cabins
with magnetic cards.
"The innovative solution proposed by WINS will enable Grandi
Navi Veloci to provide passengers with a satellite-based solution
for extending mobile telephony and broadband services at sea,"
said Dr. Aldo Grimaldi, President of Grandi Navi Veloci. "Real-time
remote monitoring and management of our onboard sales will also
be an efficient tool for even better service management and optimisation.
Through the implementation of these services Grandi Navi Veloci
is reconfirming its innovation and technology-oriented strategy
and mindset, thus guaranteeing the highest safety standards aboard
and putting at passengers' disposal better and more efficient services."
Giuliano Berretta, CEO of Eutelsat added: "Eutelsat is very
pleased to see the deployment of the first services by WINS, which
harnesses the expertise of Maltasat International and our Skylogic
Italia affiliate to address the highly promising markets of broadband
access and extension of GSM connectivity at sea. This initiative
further diversifies the range of services provided on land, in-flight
and at sea by Eutelsat's satellites and sits at the heart of our
broadband development strategy. We look forward to further consolidating
this association and are delighted to have won the confidence of
Grandi Navi Veloci which is distinguished for its high standards
of quality, passenger comfort and efficiency."
"At the heart of our service to Grandi Navi Veloci is the capability
of WINS to cover the complete definition of the network, including
management of satellite capacity, interconnection with the Internet
and GSM connectivity. This enables Grandi Navi Veloci to extend
its high standards to continued use of mobile phones and broadband
services," said Tony Mejlaq, Chairman of WINS. "This first
agreement with Grandi Navi Veloci, which sets the pace in its sector,
marks an excellent start for WINS."