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KVH seals maritime broadband expansion

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MIDDLETOWN -- The mini-VSAT Broadband network, which provides maritime clients access to KVH Industries Inc.’s ever-expanding wireless communication system, has more than doubled its capacity in Brazil and Africa.

This marks KVH’s third major network capacity increase in the last five months, according to the firm.

Supporting commercial demand from oil and gas industry customers, the network upgrades allow for more reliable and secure wireless communications between maritime vessels and terrestrial points. KVH also said that these tools will also bolster anti-piracy efforts.

“Any reliable communications system is a valuable resource for combating piracy, as it allows crew members aboard the vessel to communicate with authorities in the event of pirate activity,” Nicole Mongillo, KVH media specialist, said in an email.

“KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband service and compatible TracPhone V-series antennas are a great example of such a solution, and every company uses them differently,” she said.

The upgrades also allow the network to carry more data and at faster download speeds as fast as 4 Mbps and upload speeds up to 1 Mbps.

Expanding fleets of oil and gas transport vessels around the Brazilian and African coasts represent key regions for KVH clients and a growing market of customers for its technologies, Mongillo said.

“Brazil’s importance as an oil and gas producing region is increasing rapidly, and the global shipping industry is in dire need of reliable communications throughout the African region,” Brent Bruun, executive vice president of KVH’s mobile broadband group, said in prepared remarks.

The global network access that KVH’s mini-VSAT antennae provides is the result of a partnership with ViaSat Inc., a Quincy-based developer of extra-terrestrial (satellite, broadband) communication systems, which helps to keep increasing the coverage area of the network through ViaSat’s variable coding, spreading and modulation technology.

KVH said that it has sold more than 3,000 VSAT on-board terminals since it launched the line in 2007. In the last five months, the company has widened its broadband network reach in Europe by up to 60 percent and the Caribbean as well.

In earlier deals, the company focused on installing anti-piracy products with great payoff. In 2010, it signed a $42 million contract with the United States Coast Guard to fit its VSAT terminals on over 200 ships.

In 2013, ships reported 47 maritime piracy and armed robbery incidents, according to figures on the International Maritime Bureau website. Current as of March, five vessels and 65 hostages were held by Somalian pirates.

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