P&O Ferries, MTN Transform Sea Travel Communications

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

February 17, 2015

Photo courtesy of P&O Ferries

Photo courtesy of P&O Ferries

P&O Ferries and MTN Communications (MTN) announce the delivery of high-performance Internet connectivity and access to online content through the first Wi-Fi hot spot on the English Channel.  

This service is now live on the English Channel on ferries serving the P&O Ferries Dover-Calais route.  These vessels are reportedly the first ferries in the world connected to the MTN Terrestrial Broadband Network (TBN), in addition to having back-up satellite connectivity, as many cruise ships do today.  Each P&O Ferries vessel now has a broadband antenna tracking and stabilization system, which works across the entire 22 miles (35.40 kilometers) of the English Channel. 

This allows the antenna to “lock” onto MTN TBN access points on shore, providing broadband service to the end user.  In addition, the shipboard data center of each vessel is equipped with the industry’s most advanced processing technologies.  

This new service follows the launch of a satellite communications solution on the P&O Ferries Irish Sea Route in December 2013 and North Sea Route in August 2014.  This initiative serves the 11 of the P&O Ferries vessels that make up Europe’s largest and leading ferry fleet.  P&O Ferries carries more than nine million passengers annually and provides 365x7 transport.  

This initiative marks P&O Ferries’ implementation of the most advanced communications ecosystem in the ferry market and one that only MTN delivers.  

MTN introduced this hybrid network component of its advanced communications system, comprising satellite and terrestrial broadband connectivity, seamless switching with zero impact to users, smart computing and a comprehensive platform for eCommerce and other apps.  All this is now in place so P&O Ferries can deliver passenger and crew conveniences now required onboard their ferries.    

“Ferries traditionally have relied solely on satellite bandwidth for communications services,” said Ian Rabbidge, head of propositions, P&O Ferries.  “With connectivity demands exponentially increasing on our ferries, it was crucial for us to find a more reliable, robust solution.  We need to enable passengers to stay online while commuting to work or to stay connected while enjoying their leisure travel.  Just like in the office, at home or at a land-based resort, they want to stream media; conduct eCommerce; engage in social media; access online content; watch television; call family, friends and colleagues; and more.  MTN enables all this through its advanced communications ecosystem of hybrid connectivity, smart computing and an Internet platform designed to enable today’s apps.  P&O Ferries is proud to be first ferry operator in the world to showcase such an advanced communications offering to its passengers and crew.”  

MTN delivers more than 12 terabytes of data daily through this powerful hybrid communications network, and processes 2.8 million Internet logins per month.  The company again transformed the maritime communications industry with the launch of this advanced communications ecosystem because of the transformative way it solved the demand-for-bandwidth dilemma.  

“P&O Ferries heard about the cruise industry communications revolution where operators were leveraging this new hybrid network with both satellite and terrestrial connectivity, in addition to smart computing and an enhanced Internet platform,” said Brent Horwitz, senior vice president and general manager, cruise and ferry services, MTN.  “P&O Ferries had its own major modernization initiative underway to provide the most advanced overall ferry services in the world.  By delivering this competitive differentiator, we are aligning communications with all the other innovation P&O Ferries has underway – and in some cases, enabling it.  This enhanced connectivity, and access to work and travel-related applications and content, is at a level beyond what any other ferry operator has today.”  

This system improves the efficiency and robust throughput required for today’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) community experiencing the unmatched services of P&O Ferries every day.    


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