Despite the global economic downturn causing a difficult year in the communications industry, Marlink has succeeded in attracting a high level of activity in the face of financial restraints. This has resulted in the company maintaining its leading position in the marine satellite communications market despite the maritime industry focus on reductions in expenditure. While shipping companies have been forced to review their costs, satellite communications have become increasingly critical for business efficiency, as well as attracting and retaining skilled crew. Due to lower capital investment, we have received stronger demand for MSS on-demand services such as Inmarsat FleetBroadband and Iridium Openport, which have benefited from this trend.
VSAT is an attractive solution for maritime businesses implementing stricter financial planning and it is my belief that demand for VSAT services will continue to rise. VSAT provides high quality, reliable connectivity at a fixed monthly cost, offering customers with high bandwidth requirements, exceptional value. Customers also benefit from the predictability of knowing exactly what their costs will be, enabling them to plan and manage satellite communications expenditure effectively.
Going into 2010, new developments in the market will add to the attractiveness of VSAT. The introduction of shared bandwidth services has helped to make VSAT systems more affordable for moderate communications users. Customers are able to lease equipment directly through Marlink, which eliminates the need for high capital investments in equipment, so coupled with the shared bandwidth a VSAT service is more accessible to a wider market of maritime businesses. The option to lease equipment will also be made available for Inmarsat FleetBroadband services to support the maritime industry during difficult times.
Marlinks strategy during 2010 will remain similar to that of 2009, with ongoing focus on providing high quality, reliable and cost-effective satellite communication solutions. As part of this commitment, we will expand our FleetBroadband offering to include more attractive bundles and Value Added services. We will also continue to expand Ku-band coverage so that by the end of Q1 of next year, we will be offering Ku-band coverage on a global scale, to all major shipping regions of the world. Smaller and easier to install, our Ku-band antennas have lower installation and service costs than high-end C-band antennas and are proven as a cost-effective solution for customers that do not require the exceptional bandwidth and capabilities that our C-band solutions provide.
To ensure we provide service of the highest quality, Marlink has customer service centres operating in major regions throughout the world. This level of local presence means that we are able to offer faster, more effective and locally focused levels of service intervention and customer support whenever required. In addition, we employ experienced and skilled engineers who are available all year round, ensuring that we provide reliable communications, any time, any place.