High-speed internet takes to the waves
The French navy, the Bolloré Group and Korea's Samsung have developed a system which allows high-speed internet access to boats as far as 10 kilometres from the shore. The system, known as WiMax, could help rescue efforts and is currently being tested off the coast of Brittany in north-west France.
Six navy vessels are equipped with the system which is linked to three antennae on the coastline.
Dominque Roux, head of Bolloré Telecom, the telecoms subsidiary of France's Bolloré group, says WiMax has a number of advantages for maritime users.
“It avoids the use of bulky and costly satellite dishes which can cause problems for small buildings,” he said.
The system could be used to transmit information through the internet during sea rescue operations or for coastal surveillance.
WiMax receives and transmits data through a shoe-box-sized device which can also send videos, emails, GPS, and information about the weather.
It is hoped the system will eventually expand to provide a service for fishing and leisure boats.