With the launch of JetBlue Fly-Fi in-flight Wi-Fi service, ViaSat Inc. has shown that its high-capacity Ka-band system is delivering the high-speed in-flight experience the company has promised. The innovative service is designed to deliver high-quality Internet that meets high passenger demand for connectivity, eclipsing the service quality and speeds of other in-cabin airline services that can serve only a small number of passengers at low speeds.
The more favorable economics of the ViaSat high-capacity satellite service enable airlines to provision a high-speed service level to each passenger, rather than simply an aggregate amount of bandwidth to the plane that leaves passengers competing for service. The system – including a LiveTV portal, aircraft Wi-Fi system, and integration for JetBlue – is capable of delivering 12 Mbps or more to each connected passenger. The satellite-based system, branded Exede® In The Air, can also operate on the ground, enabling airlines to take advantage of the recent FAA ruling allowing passengers to use their personal electronic devices at all stages of flight, with gate-to-gate Wi-Fi connections.
“There’s a simple reason why air travelers haven’t had access to fast broadband: Legacy technologies don’t enable a sufficient amount of bandwidth delivery to the plane at a cost that makes sense for airlines or consumers,” said Don Buchman, ViaSat director of mobile broadband. “Exede® in the Air changes the game and we think passengers are really going to enjoy a fast online experience that’s more like what they get at their home or office for in-flight email, web browsing, social media, and other common Internet activities. We want to thank our partners JetBlue and LiveTV for driving this first opportunity to deliver our transformational Internet service to air travelers.”
* Building on over 1000 flight hours conducted with JetBlue and LiveTV, the Exede In The Air technology is performing as designed:
* Meeting technical challenge of transparent transitioning between Ka-band spot beams within the ViaSat-1 footprint while keeping passengers connected.
* Connection speeds of 12 Mbps and more verified through online speed test, for fast, responsive web browsing, email, and social media updates.
* Sustaining speeds with 50-70 personal devices connected simultaneously per flight (much higher than typical 3-10% take rate, even when passengers were not expecting any connectivity) with total data consumption in-line with expectations.
The high-capacity ViaSat system is designed to meet the increasing consumer demand for higher speed connections to their mobile devices. The major differentiator is an innovative Ka-band satellite system, featuring ViaSat-1, recognised as the World’s Highest Capacity Communications Satellite with a Guinness World Records title. The complete network service, the first of its kind for commercial aviation, is now FCC licensed in North America and FAA certified for operation on Airbus 320 and Boeing 737 aircraft.