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Satellite Communications Technology

FMC GlobalSat to provide seamless broadband access for American Queen Steamboat Company cruises

(4 June 2019 - FMC GlobalSat) FMC GlobalSat has been chosen to provide its 4G/LTSAT (Long-term Satellite) connectivity solution aboard all four American Queen Steamboat Company vessels, enabling internet broadband connectivity for more than one-thousand passengers on a daily basis.

The system is currently operational aboard the flagship vessel American Queen and is being deployed aboard the American Duchess, American Empress, and will be installed aboard the American Countess shortly. FMC GlobalSat’s system provides crew and guests with seamless broadband access that automatically switches between wireless carriers and satellite communications networks based on signal strength and throughput.

The American Queen Steamboat Company operates a fleet of iconic paddlewheel riverboats along the Mississippi river and its tributaries, as well as on the Columbia and Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest. The company is the premier riverboat cruise provider in the United States, providing guests the opportunity to explore American history from a unique on-the-river perspective.

“For years, commercial maritime operators have been forced to depend on extremely unreliable terrestrial coverage or expensive satellite connectivity to achieve even a baseline level of data and voice communications to satisfy staff and customer needs,” said Emmanuel Cotrel, chief executive officer of FMC GlobalSat. “Our approach has been to create an intelligent service that automatically connects users with the best available bandwidth option for a particular location. Through our solution, our customers can receive more reliable coverage—with greater security—at a far lower cost.”

The FMC GlobalSat platform manages all handoffs and balances network traffic automatically, ensuring that the connection is always available. The system also relies on a robust architecture that optimizes security by mitigating ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks, making it a compelling offering for security-conscious industries.

Outfitting each of the iconic steamboat vessels with the 4G/LTSAT solution is accomplished in less than one day. The system provides usage-based access to wireless networks and satellite communications through a converged approach, which translates into a 99.9995 percent uptime.

Among the key advantages of FMC GlobalSat’s bundled solution is the use of commercial-grade prioritized 4G service which does not suffer the bandwidth throttling common with consumer wireless offerings, and the automated adoption of satellite channels when wireless service is unreliable.

“Our guests expect seamless and reliable connectivity as part of their cruise experience, and the experience with FMC GlobalSat thus far has exceeded expectations,” said Thurman Jones, director of information technology of American Queen Steamboat Company. “FMC GlobalSat not only improves broadband connectivity throughout each cruise, it does so at price points that are less than traditional satellite-centric broadband solutions. We anticipate that our customers and crew will be very pleased with the reliability and security of this new service as it is activated across our entire fleet.”

FMC GlobalSat employs the advanced Kymeta flat-panel satellite antenna to enhance satellite connectivity. The Kymeta antenna has no moving parts and automatically adjusts to track satellite connections while the vessel is in motion.

About American Queen Steamboat Company

The American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC), a leader in U.S. river cruising based in New Albany, IN was founded in 2011. The company’s fleet of U.S. flagged riverboats sail America’s heartland and the Pacific Northwest on itineraries from eight to 23 days. Ushering in a renaissance of travel on U.S. rivers with an all-American crew, AQSC has earned multiple accolades for the company’s high levels of service, gourmet cuisine and authentically delivered shore excursions. AQSC’s flagship vessel, American Queen, launched in 2012 and offers authentic and timeless experiences inspired by the palatial Mississippi steamboats of the Mark Twain era. In April 2014, AQSC christened American Empress to sail the Pacific Northwest with the same opulence and grandeur, followed by the American Duchess, the first all-suite paddlewheeler in the U.S., which set sail in August 2017. The new American Countess, currently under construction in Louisiana, will debut in April 2020, joining the American Queen and American Duchess on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

About FMC GlobalSat

FMC GlobalSat is a global provider of best-in-class satellite and wireless solutions to geographically remote businesses that require reliable, secure, and cost-effective connectivity. Partnering with major wireless carriers and satellite communications providers, FMC GlobalSat delivers a converged connectivity solution that incorporates 4G wireless solutions across CDMA, GSM, and LTE networks in more than 190 countries, and high-throughput satellite (HTS) communications. The company’s network incorporates Tier 1 carriers, and satellite infrastructure that includes 53 satellites, eight teleports, 20,000 miles of fiber optic cable, and a 24/7 enterprise-grade global technical support organization.