Airline passengers and flight crews soon will be able to enjoy the benefits of high-speed data while they are in flight from selected providers over Verizon Airfone`s in-flight communications network.
The company, a subsidiary of Verizon Communications, plans to upgrade its current voice and data network to a broadband transmission network that will provide the pipeline for a multitude of communications services to airlines and their passengers.
The FAA has recently certified a high-speed file server for Verizon`s use on commercial aircraft. The first server is now installed aboard an Airbus A320 commercial aircraft. By August, Verizon Airfone will have servers installed in additional aircraft and will begin upgrading its entire in-flight network to provide advanced data services.
Future services that are expected to be offered through the upgraded Verizon Airfone network include High-speed Internet access, News, entertainment and information and a ‘cash-less cabin’, with sales of beverages and duty-free merchandise conducted and validated electronically by flight attendants. Benefits to airline personnel could include administrative and operational communications, weather information that extends beyond the scope of radar can be continuously communicated to flight crews, allowing them to better prepare for adverse weather conditions and a range of security services, including transmission of streaming video of cabin and cockpit emergencies to ground personnel. Currently, 62% of U.S.-based commercial passenger aircraft are installed with Airfone service.