Can ‘LEO internet’ onboard improve crew retention and recruitment?


    Historically availability for Crew was limited

    Demand for more bandwidth onboard has reached new heights in the last 12 months, as rig owners and operators expand their networks to increase crew access to high-speed internet. So, how can operators improve the solutions they offer to crew and do new networks hold the answer to providing fast, home-like WiFi on rigs?

    The offshore industry has historically faced challenges in providing reliable and fast internet connectivity. The availability and quality of satellite-based internet services can vary greatly depending on factors such as the location of the rig, the size and position of the satellites, the distance to the nearest land gateway, the type of service offering, regulatory constraints and the type of equipment being used.

    Growing demand for fibre-like access

    The lack of internet access can make life onboard isolating and difficult for crew members, leading to low morale, dissatisfaction and high turnover rates. Rig operators have previously provided VSAT connectivity, which could provide the bandwidth but not always the low latency desired by crew. The new generation of rig workers view internet access as a must-have, not a nice to have. As this digital transformation continues, the benefit to rig owners and operators and their crews will increase.

    Higher speeds with LEO

    With recent advances in satellite technology, it’s becoming increasingly possible for rigs and ships to access high-speed internet even in remote and challenging environments. With the recent development of complementary Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellite capacity, offering very fast connectivity and low latency, the energy industry has the service it has long desired.

    The high throughput internet access LEO can provide means rig owners and operators can offer their crew a more connected working experience while offshore. Crew will be able to stay in touch with friends and family, stream educational and entertainment resources and perform their jobs more efficiently. This can lead to higher job satisfaction, improved morale and reduced turnover rates, making it easier for shipowners to retain and recruit quality crew members.

    By combining best effort service like LEO with guaranteed bandwidth like MEO and Geostationary VSAT services onboard, operators can also improve operational efficiency by enabling real-time communication and data exchange between ships and shore-based offices. This can help them make informed decisions, improve logistics and supply chain management and respond quickly to potential problems or emergencies.

    Providing high-speed and low latency internet can play a significant role in improving crew retention and recruitment by providing a more connected experience for crew.

    At ITC Global, we are already providing LEO services to a range of customers from offshore and maritime to land-based customers, with more capacity set to come online in the months and years ahead. Our agnostic approach to providing digital solutions means we will continue to combine all the possible services independent of orbit and frequency to improve the quality of service on an application level for the best possible solution to rig owners and operators.