Where once in-flight Wi-Fi was an insane perk that was hard to imagine (way back in 2008), it's now become so expected that both airlines and providers are in a race to provide the fastest -- if not the cheapest -- connection.
Gogo Inflight announced today that it was introducing 2Ku, a faster Wi-Fi service on domestic and international routes using satellite connections in place of air-to-ground technology.
“2Ku will usher in a new era of global in-flight connectivity,” said CEO Michael Small in a press conference announcing the product. “It’s fast: 70 mega-baud per second today, and it will grow in speed as new satellites get launched — up to 100 mbs.”
Japan Air Lines will likely be the first to trial the product, but they have not yet signed a formal agreement with Gogo. The service will undergo trials by airlines and and be launched commercially in 2015.
The antennae were developed for Gogo by ThinKom, which also builds antennae for in-flight Wi-Fi rival Panasonic. According to Small, the 2Ku technology was developed under an “exclusive agreement that is proprietary to Gogo.”
According to Small, Gogo has equipped 4,000 aircraft with air-to-ground Wi-Fi and 5,000 with satellite-based service. “That’s a quarter of all commercial and business aircraft in the world that are using some sort of Gogo solution.”
Gogo argues that the 2Ku system’s improvements will be seen most in tropical and equatorial regions where the curvature of the earth in relation to the placement of satellites makes coverage more difficult. “Millions of more square miles of the earth’s surface will be covered by this solution,” Small said.
Gogo CTO Anand Chari made one statement aimed at streaming media fans, calling 2Ku, “the most TV-friendly solution in the marketplace.”
See the full press briefing, below:
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Photo credit: Gogo's CTO Anand Chari and the new 2Ku antennae announced today. Gogo