High-speed internet for flyers within EU

LONDON (TIP): Passengers will now receive superfast in-flight broadband wi-fi services while flying within the European Union. British satellite telecommunications firm Inmarsat which has been spearheading the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 announced a big investment to boost broadband connectivity in aeroplanes. over Europe. The London-based firm will link aircraft to the internet via cellphone towers on the ground pointing skywards. A spacecraft will augment the system ensuring passengers experience an unbroken onboard wi-fi service. Inmarsat said on Thursday it will deploy a unique integrated telecommunications network delivering aviation passenger connectivity across the EU.

The company has placed an order for a new S-band satellite, called Europasat and expects to complement this satellite with a fully integrated air-to-ground network across the European Union. Inmarsat’s new aviation network will deliver high-speed broadband services to commercial and business aviation passengers across the continent. These capabilities will be offered alongside Inmarsat’s Global Xpress aviation services, extending Inmarsat’s service coverage for European aviation passengers seamlessly across the rest of the globe.

This will place Inmarsat in a leadership position in the in-flight passenger connectivity market, which is already both substantial and growing rapidly in North America and which offers exceptional growth potential globally. “We believe that the same in-flight connectivity opportunity exists in Europe and that, with the support of EU telecoms regulators, Inmarsat can rapidly bring to market unique, high speed aviation passenger connectivity services to meet this market demand on an EU-wide basis,” said Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce.

“A number of European airlines are aligned with this vision and we are absolutely delighted to announce advanced discussions with British Airways to be a launch customer on our new aviation network.” Kate Thornton from British Airways commented: “British Airways is in discussions with Inmarsat about leading Europe in a new era of broadband in the air.

Starting with UK domestic routes Inmarsat intends to deploy Europe’s first ground-based 4G broadband network giving our customers the internet access they expect on the ground while in the air.” To reduce initial programme costs, Inmarsat and Hellas-Sat, a noncompeting European satellite operator, have contracted with Thales Alenia Space for the construction of a satellite on a shared basis, with each partner retaining exclusive rights to a separate payload.

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