Iridium Communications announced the commercial launch of its Iridium Certus broadband service, the first new capability activated from the company’s $3 billion Iridium NEXT satellite replacement program. Iridium Certus is a platform designed for the development of specialty applications and is the world’s only truly global broadband service, according to the company, offering on-the-move internet and high-quality voice access. The service enables mobile office functionality for deployed teams and two-way remote communication for assets, autonomous vehicles, trains, aircraft and ships at sea.

“The debut of Iridium Certus is the start of a new chapter in the Iridium story, one that is set to catapult us and our partners forward,” said Iridium CEO Matt Desch.

Iridium Certus will enable the company to provide broadband connections to teams, vehicles and the important IoT applications in the plus-80% of the world that lacks cellular coverage, he added.

“Aside from operating on a global satellite constellation, Iridium Certus terminals are smaller in form factor, will offer higher speeds and are more cost-effective than competitive L-band broadband offerings,” Desch said.

Rocky Mountaineer is a tourist train that travels through some very remote parts of the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada, according to Senior Director of Information Technology at Rocky Mountaineer Chris Sepp. “Iridium Certus has been everything we could have hoped for, in terms of keeping us in consistent communication, despite the challenging operating environment,” Sepp said. “This is a major upgrade to our existing capabilities with positive effects for safety, tracking and efficiency of our system. We’re excited to continue adding the service to our trains.”

Iridium is debuting the service, which will feature a variety of speed classes, with the Iridium Certus 350 (352/352 Kbps) offering, which supports capabilities like internet and high-quality voice services to compact terminals built specifically for maritime, aviation and terrestrial/vehicle applications. Terminals will be upgradable to the next speed class, Iridium Certus 700 (352/704 Kbps), with a firmware update once available. Initial activations of the service occurred in December with excellent system performance.

Iridium Certus is powered by the low earth orbit Iridium satellite network, comprised of 66 crosslinked satellites that create a web of coverage around the planet.