Consumer Demand for Global Aero Broadband Connectivity Takes Off
By James Collett, Director, Mobility Services Product Management
Current Contracted Throughput on Industry-leading Intelsat’s Ku-band Broadband Tops 350 Mbps; Expected to Multiply as Intelsat EpicNG Infrastructure Launches
April 8th, 2014 — At Intelsat alone, we estimate that current throughput on our global broadband aeronautical platform is 350 Mbps, with that number expected to ‘take off’ as our Intelsat EpicNG satellites begin to launch in 2015, each providing 25-60 Gbps of capacity to power broadband services. And not a moment too soon, as airline passengers are demanding Wi-Fi connectivity and choosing those airlines that can provide them with uninterrupted, high quality broadband connectivity and live television transmission, particularly on long-haul flights.
Moreover, the number of planes with broadband connectivity is expected to more than double over the next five years. Airlines are choosing in-flight service providers that deliver reliable, high quality, seamless in-flight broadband connectivity that is designed to provide a consistent user experience. This is particularly true for the most profitable routes, such as trans-oceanic flights over the Atlantic and northern Pacific, as well as routes over South America, Asia and Australia.
Given the consumer interest, airlines are looking for broadband solutions today. As a result, the world’s leading in-flight broadband providers have turned to Ku-band solutions, and in particular, Intelsat.
Panasonic, Gogo and Row 44 already use Intelsat’s global Ku-band broadband mobility infrastructure to help them deliver reliable, high quality in-flight connectivity to their airline customers so that passengers can enjoy accessing email, surfing the internet, watching videos on their laptops or viewing a movie –without interruption.
Each of these aero broadband service providers has unique designs that differentiate them in this dynamic market. That being said, the commonality is that each selected Ku-band capacity to provide the global platform for their services. As Wi-Fi connectivity becomes more established in airplanes, airlines should select service providers with global service capabilities that are flexible and with enough bandwidth to meet broadband connectivity demands that will yield a superior user experience – thus building passenger loyalty.
Based upon recent industry analyst market size assessments, and Intelsat’s current contracted capacity for commercial aeronautical broadband applications, Intelsat’s share is well over 50% of the current global aeronautical broadband market.
This is largely due to Intelsat’s available global Ku-band satellite broadband infrastructure, and our planned evolution to a high throughput satellite (HTS), Intelsat EpicNG platform in 2015.
The Intelsat EpicNG platform will provide traditional wide beams and EpicNG spot beams, enabling intelligent use of spectrum that frees more throughput for broadband – as much as 200 Mbps per spot beam available to a plane flying through any given beam, with a total throughput per satellite of 25 to 60 Gbps.
The combination of traditional wide beams with the Intelsat EpicNG spot beams will help service providers deliver cost efficient, live video content with no impact to speed and throughput for broadband services, facilitating a better and more reliable end-user experience.
The Intelsat EpicNG design provides the global footprint and the extra bandwidth needed for the airline industry’s heavily traveled and most profitable transoceanic routes over the Atlantic and northern Pacific oceans, as well as routes over South America, Asia and Australia.