Schlumberger and BT have announced what is claimed as a ‘world first’ wireless broadband service installed on the Byford Dolphin rig in the North Sea for a three month trial. The WiFi service lets offshore workers communicate with friends and family using e-mail, instant messaging and web cam. The service is ‘public’ but not free. Users buy vouchers onboard or subscribe to the service online. The service was installed by Schlumberger Information Solutions using the rig’s main satellite link.
Following the successful trial, Schlumberger is to roll-out the wireless service globally for remote and offshore drilling and production operations. Demetrios Stellas, SIS VP for Digital Infrastructure said, ‘Increasingly, offshore workers expect to have access to the internet services that they can get at home. We believe that this new service will be recognized as a real benefit by oil workers who often work in harsh and difficult environments both offshore and in frontier locations.’
Seeing as all the technology required for rig site WiFi is ping, power and a $40 wireless access point, it is unlikely that this is strictly speaking a ‘world first‘!
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