Telecom has won a contract to set up and manage an access station for Global Xpress - a project aiming to provide a global satellite broadband network.

Global Xpress, being developed by British satellite company Inmarsat, will potentially offer users "seamless global coverage" with internet speeds of 50 megabits per second which can be accessed on land, sea or air.

Inmarsat anticipates the services will cater for airline passengers wanting to use their smartphones, tablets and laptops while flying.

Telecom today said it has been awarded the contract for one of Global Xpress' access stations and will develop its Warkworth Satellite Earth Station to host Inmarsat and a Global Xpress satellite antenna.


"We're pleased to be a part of Inmarsat's vision of better connectivity for New Zealand," said Telecom's Nick Clarke. "The scale of this project reinforces that New Zealand can meet demand for security of international bandwidth supply at competitive prices. In choosing a location for a satellite earth station it needs to be cost-effective and have reliable connectivity to the rest of the world. Given the scale, we had to prove our capability at our Satellite Earth Station as well as our National Transport Service, which will backhaul the satellite data when it hits earth and carry it internationally on the Southern Cross Cable, " he said.

The satellites for Global Xpress are being built and tested at Boeing's Space and Intelligence Systems' facility in California.

The programme has involved US$1.2 billion of investment.