Intelsat expands Hispasat partnership to boost in-flight connectivity

Global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation inks deal with LATAM and European satellite operator

With air-based communications becoming an increasingly important part of travellers’ flight experiences as well as more cost-effective to deliver, aviation broadband connectivity products and services provider Intelsat has expanded its strategic agreement with satellite connectivity firm Hispasat to offer in-flight connectivity in the Americas and the Atlantic through the Amazonas Nexus craft.

The agreement includes long-term leasing of the entire capacity of Hispasat’s satellite in the US and Brazil, as well as what is described as significant capacity volume in the North Atlantic corridor. Through the deal, Intelsat will offer in-flight connectivity services in these areas with a high volume of air traffic, as well as corporate and cellular backhaul services.

High throughput Amazonas Nexus was launched into space on 6 February from Cape Canaveral, and will be operational this summer. The craft’s architecture is intended to allow it to replace the Amazonas 2 in the 61º West orbital position, and has a payload specifically dedicated to connectivity in mobility environments (planes and ships), in addition to other applications such as corporate communications and cellular backhaul roll-outs.

Furthermore, it will a launch what Hispasat claims is a “state-of-the-art” digital transparent processor, a technological innovation designed to substantially increase the satellite’s flexibility and make it easier to adapt to the changes that may occur in demand.

Together with the extended long-term agreement with Intelsat, the Amazonas Nexus project includes two other strategic customers during its operational life: Greenland telecommunications operator Tusass, and Artel, which will provide the Pathfinder 2 payload on-board the satellite to the American Space Forces.

In total, Hispasat has already reached long-term agreements to lease more than 60% of the capacity of the Amazonas Nexus, what the company regards as a notable milestone in a market trending towards short-term agreements, and highlighting the growth in demand for satellite services in mobility and corporate services in the Americas.

Hispasat believes the demand for capacity of in-flight connectivity services is expected to multiply 12-fold in the period between 2021-2031.

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Commenting on the new deal, Ignacio Sanchis, chief commercial officer of Hispasat, thanked Intelsat for the trust shown by what he called a “long-term agreement, which confirms our commitment to the Amazonas Nexus in the connectivity market in mobility environments and strengthens our position in the Americas”.

Adam Troy, vice-president of network partnerships at Intelsat, added: “Our long and successful collaboration with Hispasat in providing connectivity services on commercial flights, together with the excellent coverage and flexibility in orbit from the Amazonas Nexus, has led us to sign this agreement, which strategically reinforces our offering in the American and Brazilian commercial aviation, mobility and network service markets.”

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