After Boeing’s failed attempt to bring satellite internet into commercial aviation it now seems possible that the idea might still have a chance after JetBlue Airways has announced plans to bring In-flight high-speed Internet service to more than 170 of its aircraft by 2012.
ViaSat global internet coverage)
According to the agreement between JetBlue and ViaSat (a California based communication company), JetBlue’s aircrafts will use Ka-band commercial aviation broadband network using ViaSat-1, the first “media-enabled” satellite broadband system, scheduled for launch in the first half of 2011.
Under the agreement, ViaSat will provide satellite broadband terminals for installation on the JetBlue’s Airbus A320 and Embraer E190 aircraft along with two-way transmission bandwidth services using the WildBlue satellite broadband network, including the high-capacity ViaSat-1 satellite. JetBlue will be the first airline to receive the ViaSat Ka-band system, and those initial installations are expected to be quickly followed by deployment onboard the Continental Airlines fleet, as announced on March 22 by JetBlue’s wholly-owned subsidiary, LiveTV, and subject to final agreement. Installations are expected to begin in 2012.
At this point it’s not clear what speed the new service will offer and what the price of the service will be. Other open questions also include upload versus download speeds, total bandwidth for the entire plane as well as whether or not people will be allowed to use VOIP during the flight (something that many existing passengers might find disturbing).
Iddo has a B.A. in Philosophy and Cognitive Science and an M.A. in Philosophy of Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is currently writing his Ph.D. thesis on the relationship between the scientific community and industry. Iddo was awarded the 2006 Bar Hillel philosophy of science prize for his work on the relationship between science and technology. He is a member of the board of the lifeboat foundation and was the editor of several high-profile science and technology websites since 1999.