Eik Teleport – Four decades as a cornerstone in the development of business critical communication solutions and an essential resource for the invention of modern maritime VSAT 25 years ago (photo: Marlink)
Marlink’s Eik Teleport, one of the first maritime satellite communication receiving facilities in the world and the first to serve oil installations in the North Sea, turns 40 this year. Eik has played an important role in the development of maritime communication services over the past four decades. It is one of the fully owned Teleports in Marlink’s high quality network infrastructure that enables the delivery of secure and resilient communication services around the globe.
In the early nineties, the technical facilities and expertise at Eik Teleport were essential to Marlink’s introduction of reliable VSAT services based on maritime stabilised antennas. The first field trial on the Floating Production and Storage (FPSO) unit Petrojarl-1 took place in 1991, using Eik to relay traffic. Subsequent projects with involvement from Eik Teleport, such as the first installation on the ferry MS Peter Wessel and the pilot Ku-band installation on the seismic vessel MV Geco Topaz paved the way for today’s innovative ship’s VSAT services.
Eik Teleport has also been crucial to the development of Inmarsat services for the shipping industry. First maritime satellite communication tests were started in 1976 based on the provisional MARISAT system, which led to the creation of Inmarsat in 1979 with Eik Teleport being established as the first European station for the fledgling satellite communication company.
Officially opened by Televerket, the Norwegian Postal, Telegraph and Telephone (PTT) service in April 1976, Eik Teleport established its first link to the oilfield in the North Sea in July that year. The facility has since been essential to provide critical connectivity services and the on-going transformation of offshore oil & gas operations in the North Sea.
Today, the Eik Teleport facility spans 10 acres on a hillside outside of Stavanger, Norway. It employs approximately 80 people, primarily engineers, antenna engineers and network experts. In addition to being a key hub in Marlink’s global VSAT network and teleport for Inmarsat-C traffic, Eik Teleport also provides network set-up services, 24/7 teleport operation, VSAT technical support, training and testing labs.
Eik Teleport will continue to play an important role by supporting the on-going digitalisation of maritime operations, enabling platforms and vessels to operate smarter and more effectively through online collaboration and the power of Big Data.
“Developments at Eik Teleport form the foundation of modern satellite communications at sea and the services that Marlink delivers to thousands of vessels worldwide today,” says Tore Morten Olsen, President Maritime, Marlink. “Throughout the history of Eik Teleport, we have gained unrivalled knowledge and experience, which today supports our extensive portfolio of reliable global satcom solutions that cater for customers in shipping, offshore oil and gas, fishing, and yachting.”