Redmond, Wash.-based Kymeta Corp., the communications company backed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, says it’s starting to roll out a ruggedized portable terminal that’s designed to be set up for satellite links within four minutes.
“Commercial and government customers have shown great interest in a portable KyWay satellite terminal for use in defense, oil and gas, and first responder applications,” Nathan Kundtz, Kymeta’s founder, president and CEO, said in a news release issued Tuesday at the Satellite 2018 conference in Washington, D.C.
Kundtz said Kymeta has deployed a larger version of its KyWay flat-panel, electronically steered terminal system to more than 20 customers in 10 countries. The portable rig, called KyWay Go, is expected to widen the system’s appeal for mobile applications.
The KyWay Go rapid-deployment terminal currently comes in a set of two cases. Initial limited production units are available to rent for three-month or six-month periods, or can be purchased. KyWay Go can be bundled with Kymeta’s KĀLO satellite connectivity services, but it can also be used with other satellite service plans.
The limited availability of KyWay Go was one of several announcements made by Kymeta at Satellite 2018. The company also reported that its KyWay terminals have been certified with the world’s leading satellite operators, including Intelsat, Telesat, SES and Hispasat.
The certification means that KyWay terminals have been shown to connect successfully with the operators’ satellite constellations and do not cause adjacent satellite interference. Kymeta’s terminals are designed to switch from satellite to satellite as conditions require.
“Kymeta also has conditional approval from Eutelsat and is actively pursuing final approval and certification with other satellite operators around the world,” Neville Meijers, chief commercial officer and executive vice president, said in a news release.
Kymeta aims to provide high-throughput, mobile communications in settings that range from construction sites and connected cars to trucks, trains and boats. Its KĀLO satellite data service is provided in partnership with Intelsat.
Last year, Kymeta partnered with Intelsat and Liberty Puerto Rico to reconnect communities across Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Three Kymeta-enabled vehicles crisscrossed the island as part of a disaster assistance caravan from October through December, providing low-power, high-speed internet connectivity via KyWay terminals.
The Liberty Puerto Rico Wi-Fi Tour delivered 22,266 internet sessions and more than 813 GB of data usage.
“This internet access supported relief efforts in 33 communities, supporting public safety staff and helping residents access much-needed funds from pop-up ATMs, fill prescriptions and file 2,504 FEMA applications,” Naji Khoury, Liberty Puerto Rico’s president, said in a news release. “For many of the residents, it was also the first time they had the opportunity to communicate with friends and family since the hurricane.”
Other relief workers in the caravan served a total of 36,895 hot meals and rendered 4,213 medical services, including vaccinations.
Kundtz said the effort demonstrated the difference that mobile communication links can make in a disaster zone.
“Providing communications where it otherwise wouldn’t exist means limited resources can be sent where they will make the greatest impact,” he said. “We have been privileged to support the efforts in Puerto Rico.”
Kymeta was founded in 2012 as a spinout from Intellectual Ventures, with Gates among its lead investors.Other investors include Intelsat, Lux Capital and Liberty Global. Last year Kymeta reported a $73.5 million funding round, bringing its total funding to nearly $200 million.