Britain's Inmarsat Plc has launched a long-awaited service to provide voice and high speed Internet access anywhere in the world, as the satellite operator looks to tap new sources of revenues.
Inmarsat, which operates a constellation of satellites that enable phone, fax, video and Internet access from anywhere in the world, said on Wednesday its new Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) would allow data transfer speeds of up to 492 kilobits per second.
"It enables anyone to set up a broadband mobile office in minutes and remain fully productive -- wherever they are on the planet," Inmarsat's Chief Operating Officer Michael Butler said in a statement.
The service, which took six years to develop, can be accessed through a range of lightweight satellite terminals, the smallest of which is about half the size of a laptop computer.
The BGAN service is delivered using the company's new generation of Inmarsat-4 satellites, the second of which was launched last month.
Inmarsat said the service would be initially available across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and would be extended to North and South America during the second quarter of 2006.