JetBlue Airways made a deal with ViaSat to bring high-speed Ka-band satellite-based inflight Internet access to its fleet of 160 aircraft.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two companies calls for ViaSat to provide and install Ka-band antenna components and SurfBeam2 modems to JetBlue's Airbus A320 and Embraer 190 aircraft as well as two-way transmission bandwidth services using the WildBlue-1 and ViaSat satellites.
LiveTV, JetBlue's subsidiary that provides live TV across JetBlue's fleet, will manage the integration of the ViaSat broadband aboard the aircraft. LiveTV will also bring WiFi-enabled services aboard and lead in the certification process of the new system. Because the product will be the first of its kind for commercial aviation, the system must be tested and certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration prior to installation fleet-wide. JetBlue and ViaSat expect the first installations to occur by mid-2012.
Interestingly, ViaSat and LiveTV plan to partner to bring Ka-band satellite broadband services to the entire airline industry, including LiveTV's existing customer base of airlines.
Mid-2012 is a long way away considering Aircell has already equipped the likes of Delta, United and many other airlines with air-to-ground services. Aircell has deployed the service in about 1,000 aircraft that fly in the U.S. with 1,000 more committed by the end of 2011, according to Wi-Fi Net News.
- see this release
- read this Wi-Fi Net News article
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