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October 14, 2008

Stratos and Fugro Chance test Iridium OpenPort in Gulf of Mexico

Stratos Global Corporation says it has begun communications field testing of Iridium's OpenPort marine satellite system with offshore survey company Fugro Chance, Inc. onboard a vessel operating in the Gulf of Mexico.

During the initial phase of testing onboard the M/V Betty Cheramie, Fugro Chance is using Iridium OpenPort to provide post-Hurricane Ike damage assessments of oil and gas platforms operated by a major independent oil and gas company. Fugro Chance is conducting these assessments to determine the extent of damage and the appropriate next steps for field operations.

Fugro Chance expects to use Iridium OpenPort to power voice and data connectivity required for daily status reports, quality control and remote monitoring with shore-side experts.

"As we mobilized onto the M/V Betty Cheramie to manage this urgent damage-assessment project, we had minimal space to deploy communications equipment. OpenPort's portability allowed for rapid deployment," said Fugro Chance Manager of Marine Development Larry Prewitt.

Fugro Chance CIO Jerry Greig added, "During this communications testing phase, we hope to confirm that OpenPort will be ideally suited to support reliable, cost-effective collaboration between our field-based employees and our shore-side office staff. We selected Stratos for this field trial because its wide range of value-added services can help us get the most from the OpenPort platform, with the least amount of effort."

Iridium OpenPort provides always-on Ethernet and three voice lines that can be used simultaneously--allowing for simultaneous captain and crew use, even during data transmission. The Iridium OpenPort antenna array has a small footprint and light weight and can be quickly installed on any location on deck. It does not require a stabilization platform and is virtually maintenance free.

Iridium will offer a number of simplified service packages that bundle data usage and voice minutes. Service packages will be available at data speeds of 9.6 kbps, 32 kbps, 64 kbps and 128 kbps.

Stratos became an Iridium OpenPort global distribution partner in May. Iridium OpenPort is the latest addition to Stratos' range of maritime broadband satellite services, which includes FleetBroadband from Stratos and the VSAT solutions OceanVSAT and StratosITek.


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