Carnival Corporation’s MedallionNet to set industry apex for Wi-Fi bandwidth capacity at sea powered
Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest leisure travel company, will establish a new industry apex in connectivity capabilities today at sea when it attempts to make an unprecedented level of bandwidth available to guests on board Regal Princess from its Princess Cruises brand. Using its newly developed connectivity service, MedallionNet, and working with SES Networks, the world-leading provider of satellite-enabled connectivity solutions, Carnival Corporation and Princess Cruises will attempt to achieve bandwidth of 1.5 gigabits per second, the most ever delivered to a mobile platform. The record attempt will demonstrate that connectivity is no longer a limitation to cruise vacations. Guests using MedallionNet have access to the internet at speeds that eclipse typical land-based hotel connectivity performance levels. “With MedallionNet, the best Wi-Fi at sea, the extraordinary experience of a cruise vacation is further enhanced by superior connectivity and coverage – providing our guests who want to stay connected with a connectivity experience that equals or exceeds what they experience on land,” said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation. “This event gives us the opportunity to demonstrate that guests can have connected experience that parallels land-based Wi-Fi, making it exceptionally easy for our guests to share photos, videos and messages about their fabulous vacation. Cruise vacations are already the fastest growing segment of the vacation sector, and eliminating any connectivity barriers will make cruise vacations even more desirable.” As part of the event, Carnival Corporation will attempt to reach 1.5 gigabits per second as Regal Princess is off Princess Cays, one of the brand’s private island destinations, located on the southern tip of the island of Eleuthera in the outer Bahamas. A bandwidth capacity of 1.5 gigabits per second will give guests unprecedented Wi-Fi access that equates to more than 6,000 users concurrently surfing the internet; or 1,500 Netflix or Hulu subscribers streaming TV shows or movies. Since mid-November 2017, MedallionNet, a game-changing connectivity service enabled by SES Networks, has been keeping guests connected to friends and family, delivering consistent streaming capabilities through unprecedented internet speeds and bandwidth, pervasive stateroom signal strength and service consistency onboard Regal Princess as well as on Princess Cays. MedallionNet is made possible through an inventive array of antennae, networks, equipment and configuration innovations that combine to make the Regal Princess the only vessel on the planet that is currently capable of achieving 1.5 gigabits per second and more. “MedallionNet puts to rest the notion that connectivity at sea will never be as fast or reliable as your broadband at home,” said Steve Collar, CEO of SES Networks and Carnival Corporation Global Experience and Innovation partner. “Powered by our O3b fleet of MEO (Medium Earth Orbit) satellites, and complemented by our GEO (Geostationary Earth Orbit) constellation, we are not only able to exceed average land-based bandwidth capabilities, but also able to set a new industry apex for guest connectivity experience.” According to a study conducted last year by Ookla, an internet speed test company, the average U.S. fixed broadband download speed was 64.17 Mbps in the first half of 2017, while the average upload speed was 22.79 Mbps. MedallionNet download speeds can exceed residential service levels, often eclipsing 100 Mbps, with upload speeds exceeding 60 Mbps. Mark Holmes, editorial director for the Satellite and Aviation Group of Access Intelligence, will be onsite to help authenticate the record capacity, and validate that MedallionNet exceeds any disclosed bandwidth of anyone in the cruise industry. MedallionNet is another development to emerge from Carnival Corporation’s Global Experience and Innovation Center in Miami. It is the first end-to-end Wi-Fi service development formulated to exceed guest expectations through “GuestCentricityTM” – an initiative to enhance all aspects of the cruise vacation experience by delivering guests what they want, when, where and how they want it. The system leverages multi-band antennas uniquely configured in an innovative shipboard formation to minimize any potential impact to guest connectivity due to seasonal weather or ship positioning, and it fuses multi-orbit satellite bandwidth to deliver superior connectivity. By combining multiple sources of bandwidth with hundreds of shipboard access points to achieve the highest capacity shipboard network ever brought to a cruise ship, MedallionNet introduces a level of service reliability and signal pervasiveness not previously achieved on ships sailing at sea. Pricing for MedallionNet is affordable and simple. Guests onboard the Regal Princess enjoy unlimited internet access for as low as $9.99 per day for one device when purchased for the entire voyage; guests can save even more by choosing multi device plans.
MedallionNet is currently an exclusive feature of Medallion Class ships – one of the latest innovations from Carnival Corporation that leverage the company’s interactive guest experience platform capable of transforming vacation travel into a highly personalized and elevated level of customized service. Brands of Carnival Corporation utilize various satellite service providers to service the nine brands connectivity and onboard TV services.
The activities surrounding the attempt to set a new apex for bandwidth capacity will include a series of Facebook Live streaming sessions as the Regal Princess is off Princess Cays. The stars of Carnival Corporation’s Ocean Originals television programs will be on hand to put MedallionNet to the test on the ship and at Princess Cays. Hosts will use their mobile devices as they stream high-definition videos, play mobile apps, FaceTime with friends and post video stories on social media – all to maximize the amount of bandwidth use.