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Mobile satellite firm Inmarsat has won the UK's top engineering prize for its Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service.

The technology is designed to offer near-global coverage for voice and data calls, an innovation which could potentially boost consumers and businesses in poorly connected rural areas.

Inmarsat has received the MacRobert Prize from the Royal Academy of Engineering, an honour which is designed to reward creativity and ingenuity within industry.

Geoff Robinson, Chairman of the award judging panel, said: "The Inmarsat team had the vision to see the demand for a global broadband service, and the courage to invest significant time and money in developing it."

"That their service can deliver such tremendous humanitarian benefits, in addition to the technical and commercial ones, must be a source of great satisfaction to this outstanding team."

Earlier this week, the European Space Agency reported that testing is progressing well on the HYLAS 1 satellite, which will allow Avanti Communications to provide broadband deals from later this year.

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