Qantas has taken a big leap forward with in-flight connectivity, with plans to roll out Wi-Fi across its domestic fleet.
Qantas has tapped ViaSat who will be providing KA/KU Band connectivity through ViaSata nbn network for in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity, with promises that passengers will be able to stream TV shows, movies, news, live sports and the like through its WiFi.
The really interesting thing is that Qantas will offer this free of charge to their domestic passengers (that’s within Australia)
The roll-out will be staged, with the first plane to get Wi-Fi being a single Boeing 737 aircraft in late 2016. The full roll-out will involve with all domestic allocated Boeing 737s and Airbus A330s to be fitted with models and antennas from early 2017.
ViaSat are mumbling figures of 20Mbps delivered to the seat, with connectivity provided b th by air to satellite, and air to ground
As well as the domestic operation, Qantas is looking to roll out inflight WiFi on its international fleet and regional fleets. No dates or plans have been announced for these.
Qantas’s CEO Alan Joyce seems happy, stating:
“Bringing high-speed wi-fi to the domestic aviation market has been an ambition of ours for a long time and we now have access to the right technology to make it happen,”
“The sheer size of the Australian landmass creates some significant challenges for inflight connectivity but the recent launch of nbn’s satellite has opened up new opportunities that we plan to take advantage of with ViaSat’s help,”
“This service will give Qantas customers download speeds in the air similar to what they’re used to on the ground,”
“You won’t be limited to checking your email or Facebook – it’s going to be about watching the football live, streaming your favourite TV show or movie, catching up on the latest YouTube videos, or shopping online.
ViaSat are happy too according to Mark Dankberg, ViaSat’s Chairman and CEO., stating:
“We bring deep in-flight internet expertise to Qantas, serving close to 500 U.S. commercial aircraft. We connect more passengers per flight with higher speeds and more bandwidth per passenger than any other service – reaching speeds up to 20 Mbps per person and enough total bandwidth to support virtually any activity including streaming live or on-demand video and music.
“Our experience is proven on 1,500 flights daily, with as many as 148 simultaneous active devices on any given flight and with many of those devices using streaming media.”
There will be plenty of work needed – as well as certification needed to get this show on the road with the regulators.
Runway Girl as usual has a much deeper analysis – including coverage maps and further technical coverage on how the proposed system will work.
But for passengers in Australia where long domestic hops between major centres is a fact of life – this should make life in the air a bit more enjoyable… with Wi-Fi speeds quicker than homes in some cases.
Welcome to Economy Class and Beyond – Your no-nonsense guide to network news, honest reviews, with in-depth coverage, unique research as well as the humour and madness as I only know how to deliver.
Follow me on Twitter at @EconomyBeyond for the latest updates!