Cubic Communications Inc. (CCI) has joined a team of technology leaders working to build MariTEL's next-generation digital wireless communications network that will give boaters modern wireless telephone voice and data services, including dial-up voice, fax, e-mail and internet access.
CCI, a subsidiary of San Diego-based Cubic Corporation (AMEX:CUB), has been awarded an initial $3.4 million contract from the system integrator, Harris Corporation, to provide digital radio base station equipment for the project.
MariTEL, the nation's leading provider of Marine VHF Radiotelephone communications, expects to have its new system operational in the Gulf of Mexico by the end of this year and will expand to cover the entire country over the next two years. Total system build-out could result in $30-40 million in business for CCI.
Participating in the MariTEL system is significant for the Cubic subsidiary, which for decades has provided reliable radio communications solutions for Government and international customers. The award positions the company as a serious player in the diverse high-tech commercial communications market. MariTEL is building a unique maritime telecommunications network to provide advanced telephone and data services. CCI's new digital signal processing (DSP)-based maritime base station transceiver (MTC-100) and antenna systems will be key components of the new national communications network. The transceiver's software-based design offers versatility and the possibility for cost-effective upgrades for the new wireless marine system that will utilize 286+ cellular-like radio towers covering the coastline of the United States and all navigable inland waterways.
"Commercial shippers and recreational boaters currently rely on an analog communications system that is more than 30 years old," said Rick Lober, CCI President and CEO. "The use of Cubic's DSP-based transceiver technology will result in wireless local loop and cellular-like services with coverage ranges of 50-100 miles offshore and also offers an upgrade path for a variety of new wireless applications. The system will operate with a new generation of marine radios that operate more like a telephone than the older generation "two-way radios," and will provide services consumers have come to expect."
The new network will fill a void in coastal and inland telecommunications coverage that the limited coverage of cellular service does not satisfy. Cubic's MTC-100 base station transceiver will play an important role in providing seamless offshore coverage.
"In addition to the software radio-based design, a key benefit that differentiated the Cubic product was the use of digital vector feedback circuitry in the transmitter. That minimizes spectral re-growth and allows for increased capacity in the limited spectrum allocation in which MariTEL operates," said Dr. Clive Winkler, CCI's VP of Advanced Technology.
MariTEL was the successful bidder in the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Marine Public Correspondence auction held in December, 1998, acquiring the licenses for all areas of the United States that contain coastline or navigable inland waterways. In addition to Harris Corporation and Cubic, the MariTEL team includes American Tower and Williams Communications.
"We are pleased and excited to be working with Harris Corporation and the team on this system which will not only provide modern-day wireless services to the marine community, but greatly enhance safety at sea through improved communications and location capabilities," Lober said. "The team has worked extremely well during the initial system design, study and prototype phases of the program that occurred in 1999, and we look forward to the rapid build-out of the network in 2000."
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