ViaSat claims it has the fastest in-flight Wi-Fi available and raising the standard for service in European skies will effectively force other carriers to speed up their service. The El Al deal is one way for ViaSat to kickstart market penetration outside of the U.S.
In-flight Wi-Fi is coming to El Al Airlines.
El Al will be the first airline to use ViaSat’s service in Europe. An exact launch date has not been announced, but a Viasat spokesperson says it is planned to launch within one year.
In order for that to happen, ViaSat will provide and manage an integrated in-flight Internet service from its existing Eutelsat KA-SAT high-capacity Ka-band satellite.
In December, ViaSat director of mobile broadband Don Buchman told Skift that ViaSat will launch its second satellite, which would provide coverage on overseas flights from the U.S. to Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, and the flight route bridge to Europe, in 2016.
Pricing Options for El Al Flyers
There will be several price options for flyers on the selected El Al routes, including a free option, the carrier’s CEO Elyezer Shkedy said in a statement today.
The surfing options will likely be similar to those offered on JetBlue Airways, the first North American airline to introduce ViaSat’s Exede Internet service.
JetBlue launched its Fly-Fi service in mid-December with a basic surfing package available for free to all flyers until June 2014. There is also premium service available that gives flyers the ability to stream videos or download large files for $9 per hour.
JetBlue has not yet announced whether they will keep the basic free option available past June 2014.
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Photo credit: An El Al jet sits at Warsaw Airport. Chris / Flickr