September 10, 2015 / 5:03 PM / 4 years ago

Inmarsat seeks border monitoring role through partnership deal

LONDON (Reuters) - Satellite operator Inmarsat said it would play a role in border monitoring through a new partnership deal, opening up a new revenue stream at a time of growing demand from countries for technology to control entry to their territories.

The company said on Thursday it was linking with U.S.-based border security company Securiport to jointly develop services for governments interested in border monitoring, particularly in remote areas.

With 12 satellites orbiting the earth, London-headquartered Inmarsat would be able to boost Securiport’s services by providing secure connections for border staff to access central databases, including that of Interpol, anywhere in the world.

“It’s about giving a country access in real time to the critical information to make security decisions about risks,” Inmarsat market development director Gordon McMillan told Reuters.

The partnership follows Inmarsat’s successful launch of a satellite in August which it said would allow it to offer mobile broadband service to customers in the most remote regions of the world.

McMillan said discussions were underway with a couple of interested countries and a deal was likely in the medium term.

“I would hope and expect that we will be doing some real business with them (Securiport) by the middle of next year,” McMillan said.

While Europe’s migration crisis has highlighted the difficulties countries face in trying to monitor their borders, McMillan expects the service offered by Inmarsat and Securiport to be more attractive to governments in remote places in Africa, where would-be attackers try to move between countries.

“In Nigeria you have the problem with Boko Haram. In Kenya they have the problems with al-Shabab. African governments need to be sure of who’s moving where and when,” he said.

Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by David Holmes

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