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Broadband from space: Inmarsat satellite launch shoots for 50Mbps

Inmarsat has launched its first satellite that will create a worldwide superfast broadband network.

Dubbed Global Xpress, the network will provide users with broadband speeds of up to 50Mbps in the Ka-band part of the spectrum. London-based Inmarsat has invested £1 billion in its Global Xpress fleet of satellites.

The satellite was launched on board a Proton Breeze M rocket launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sunday. The Boeing-built, 6.1-tonne satellite will now move itself into geo-stationary orbit some 36,000 kilometres above the Indian Ocean.

Inmarsat aims to blast-off all three satellites by the end of 2014 to provide broadband services 100 times faster than its current Inmarsat-4 fleet.

Inmarsat chief executive Rupert Pearce said the launch of the satellite was a major landmark for the company as it aims to provide the world’s first globally available, high speed mobile broadband service. 

“We are on schedule to achieve full global coverage by the end of 2014,” he said.

 “The Inmarsat-5 generation is, by some distance, the fastest satellite development programme in our history. This is an extraordinary achievement and I would like to pay tribute to the skill and expertise of Inmarsat’s engineering teams and all our employees involved in the design, development, manufacturing, testing and launch,” said Pearce.

“It is their dedication, alongside the outstanding support we have received from our manufacturing and launch partners – Boeing and ILS – which has helped deliver such a successful outcome.”

Image: ILS/Inmarsat

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