FRANCE: Eutelsat Communications announced the launch of a new aeronautical mobile service called Eutelsat Air Access designed to accelerate the deployment by commercial airlines operating in Europe of in-flight connectivity for passengers. Delivering speeds of up to 100 Mbps per airliner, Eutelsat Air Access will be available from mid-2013.
The new service uses ViaSat SurfBeam 2 technology, the most advanced and competitive system available for airborne connectivity using the Ka-band, and will be deployed on Eutelsat's KA-SAT high throughput satellite which delivers a total capacity of 90 Gbps.
Leveraging the high transmission speeds and bandwidth of KA-SAT, Eutelsat Air Access will allow aeronautical service providers to offer passengers top-quality Internet access, videostreaming and GSM services via tablets, smartphones and laptops. Eutelsat also has the option to add further unique ViaSat networking features for management of high-speed service levels to passengers.
The service will be launched across Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, with the objective to expand the service area using other Ka-band satellites.
Eutelsat is partnering on the deployment of Eutelsat Air Access with LiveTV, a leading provider of live in-flight entertainment and connectivity services for commercial airlines. LiveTV will provide, integrate and maintain on-board equipment and operate Wi-Fi internet access services and video streaming for passengers.
As a pioneer in the expanding market for live in-flight entertainment and connectivity, LiveTV has already equipped more than 700 aircraft around the world. Aer Lingus is the first carrier to seize the opportunity of new-generation in-flight services. The Irish airline last month signed a letter of intent with LiveTV and plans to launch in-cabin Internet access for customers on its European network.
The new service will be available on Aer Lingus short-haul fleet, including Airbus A319/A320 and A321. The first flights with the service are planned in the second half of 2013.