New FlexGround Service Delivers High-Speed Broadband to Forces in Remote Areas

Skot Butler, President

For more than five decades, Intelsat General has been providing the satellite capacity and the services needed by the U.S. and allied governments to support troops operating in the world’s hot spots. Satellite technology on the ground and in space has improved greatly in that time, so that yesterday’s large, bulky antennas have been replaced by fully integrated terminals the size of a laptop that can deliver high-throughput broadband communications virtually anywhere.

To allow our military customers to make the best use of our powerful Intelsat EpicNG constellation, we recently introduced FlexGround Managed Services for comms-on-the-pause and manpack applications—with comms-on-the-move coming later this year. With FlexGround, users—from commanders on the go to troops operating in remote environs–can receive critical broadband capacity in a manner that is both less expensive and higher throughput than competing commercial constellations.

Until now, U.S. Department of Defense users looking for commercial capacity have had to either lease transponder space that might not be fully utilized or pay high usage rates to L-band providers for limited throughput. But with FlexGround, the DoD can have on-demand service virtually anywhere in the world on either a pay-as-you-go basis or as a gigabyte subscription package. This makes it ideal for both occasional first-responder missions and round-the-clock military operations.

FlexGround leverages Intelsat EpicNG global constellation of high-throughput satellites (HTS) that are able to deliver high-speed broadband to a range of small SWaP terminals. Operating in the Ku band, these terminals are designed to be set up and connected in minutes by non-technical users, enabling communications across a wide spectrum of operations. With the Intelsat EpicNG HTS constellation, FlexGround has the capacity to deliver simultaneous voice, video and data connections to remote ground forces, a major improvement on the limited L-band systems offered by other commercial satellite operators

Using a flat-panel ground terminal the size of a small laptop, a FlexGround user can quickly plug into a global data network offering download speeds of 10 Mbps and data uploads of 3 Mbps. The ease-of-use design gives expeditionary or first-entry forces flexibility of movement and surge capability as the mission dictates. FlexGround is designed for Special Operations Forces as well as small-element, initial-entry applications such as reconnaissance, quick-reaction, crisis-response and advise-and-assist missions. Soldiers can connect to the FlexGround service at an advance operating base, a safe house or a forward staging area where the ability to quickly re-locate and sustain communications connectivity in minutes is required.

Because it operates entirely within the Intelsat network, FlexGround offers the highest level of information protection and cybersecurity. We comply with the USG’s strict information cyber security standards under the Risk Management Framework and we are the only satellite operator with independent third-party Service Organizational Control 3 (SOC 3) accreditation, confirming that we protect our global satellite and terrestrial network against unauthorized access.

As always, our goal is to continually improve the services and the technology we can offer our DoD and allied customers so that they can better support the communications requirements of troops in the field.