Las Vegas, NV [NBAA] | October 23, 2013– As the designated business aviation airtime reseller for Inmarsat’s GX Aviation global Ka-band solution, Honeywell has signed an agreement with ARINC Direct to bring this connectivity to the business aviation market.

GX Aviation is scheduled to be available in early 2015 and will utilize Ka-band satellites both to provide much higher broadband speeds than existing services, and consistent global coverage. Faster speeds will give business jet operators, owners and passengers the ability to work and entertain, all while over bodies of water and around the world. High speed connectivity will no longer be confined to local, land-based access.

The first Inmarsat Ka-band satellite is scheduled to be available to support a launch as early as December 2013, with full global coverage scheduled to be achieved by the end of 2014. Inmarsat has commissioned Boeing to build four Inmarsat-5 satellites to provide the service. By 2016 it is estimated there will be 10 billion mobile devices in the world, and demand for data traffic is expected to grow by a factor of 50 for smartphones and a factor of 62 for tablets.

The Business Aviation sector has historically been an early adopter of technology and ARINC Direct is extremely pleased to be in the forefront. Senior Director at ARINC Direct, David Stanley stated: “We are pleased to start providing a new generation of high-speed broadband connections to our customers. This exciting technology will benefit both our existing and new customers.”

By providing aircraft operators with the ability to access this high-speed GX connection, pilots and crew will be able to streamline flight preparation and other non-flight critical information in real time. GX Aviation will revolutionize how pilots communicate with each other and with the broader ground and air traffic community. The equipment and solutions for this product will be straightforward to install and implement, and airtime charges will be competitive. In addition to connectivity, passengers will also have access to streaming data, ranging from music and movies to social apps, business tools and cloud applications.

This agreement with Honeywell provides ARINC Direct with the ability to sell GX aviation subscription service packages to Business Aviation operators. In addition to the airtime, ARINC Direct plans to develop innovative applications and services ranging from entertainment and software updates and upgrades, to technical aircraft maintenance and customer support. These planned applications and services open up the possibility for minimizing the amount of downtime needed for avionics software and database updates, as well as technician servicing and training. They will allow pilots and operators to be notified when a newer version of software or database information becomes available. With the simple press of a button, pilots would be able to upgrade their software or databases, in much the same way that current mobile operating system upgrades occur with personal mobile devices.

– Top FCC ranking for delivering advertised speeds, and ViaSat-1 Guinness World Records title, make Exede competitive with terrestrial DSL, wireless, and cable broadband alternatives

– Exede service performance for in-flight Wi-Fi, military ISR, and satellite newsgathering to be showcased at Satellite 2013 conference in Washington, D.C.

Carlsbad, CA | March 18, 2013– ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq:VSAT) is marking the one-year anniversary this month of the nationwide rollout of its Exede Internet service, which uses the ViaSat-1 satellite, the most advanced and highest capacity satellite in the world. The consistently speedy performance of the Exede residential broadband service has helped ViaSat reach more than 285,000 subscribers on ViaSat-1 in its first year of operation. The total subscriber count across all ViaSat satellites has surpassed 500,000 for the first time.

“Our results prove that driving down the cost of bandwidth can make satellite a better choice than slower terrestrial alternatives,” said Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO of ViaSat. “The market success of ViaSat-1 strengthens our commitment to delivering a series of new satellites that push the boundaries of what’s possible in satellite broadband across a broad range of market opportunities.”

The 12 Mbps baseline download speed offered by Exede Internet is eight times faster than previous generation satellite services. While the feasibility and value of such a major technology advance was initially questioned in the industry, the Exede experience has quickly demonstrated that there is a much bigger appetite for satellite broadband in the market than most people anticipated.

Powered by ViaSat-1 – now officially recognized as the World’s Highest Capacity Communications Satellite with a Guinness World Records title – Exede service has moved into the mainstream of Internet options. A February 2013 FCC report showed Exede Internet outperforming all other ISPs in delivering promised speeds to subscribers, with 90 percent of Exede subscribers receiving 140 percent or better of the advertised 12 Mbps speed during peak periods. And approximately 40 percent of new Exede subscribers are choosing the satellite service over other alternatives available to them, such as DSL, cable, and mobile wireless for fixed home use – a major shift from the previous generations of satellite Internet service, which were considered to be a “last resort” for those with no other Internet alternative.

Beyond residential Internet, the ViaSat high-capacity satellite system is poised to re-shape communication services in other industries as well:

· Faster, easier-to-use, and more cost-effective communications and video streaming for live events, such as newsgathering, concerts, and sports, as well as emergency response operations.

· Improved in-flight Internet that can provide enough high-speed bandwidth for every passenger on the plane.

· Higher-definition, higher-volume mobile video gathering and dissemination for military operations.

ViaSat will showcase these new services at Satellite 2013 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, March 18-21, with interactive newsgathering, military ISR, and in-flight broadband demonstrations. Experts from several ViaSat business areas will also participate in six conference panel sessions, including Mr. Dankberg in Thursday’s session: “Satellite Broadband Comes of Age: The Ka-band Equation.” Find ViaSat on the show floor in booth 6047.

– Inmarsat highlights SwiftBroadband development plans, focusing on the continued evolution of Inmarsat’s L-band services and Inmarsat’s long term commitment to L-band services for aviation.

NBAA, Orlando, FL | October 31, 2012– Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, today provided the latest updates on the continued evolution of its enhanced SwiftBroadband functionality at NBAA 2012.

The enhanced capabilities, which will become available in 2013, include the introduction of high data rate technology, delivering up to 700kbps of IP data streaming per channel, SwiftBroadband services optimized for helicopters and key steps to the availability of safety services over SwiftBroadband (in addition to the existing Inmarsat safety services). SwiftBroadband-based safety services will bring prioritized IP connectivity to the cockpit for the first time, while reducing the cost of satellite ACARS messaging by at least 30%

Inmarsat will additionally be providing further details on the 2013 launch of the Alphasat I-XL satellite. Alphasat will supplement Inmarsat’s current series of I-4 satellites, providing additional SwiftBroadband capacity over Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

David Coiley, Inmarsat Vice President, Aviation, said, “It is clear SwiftBroadband will continue to be a key technology platform for the entire aviation market, and in particular building on Inmarsat success in the business and general aviation. Inmarsat remains committed to L-band for the long term and our SwiftBroadband platform complements the introduction of our Ka-band GX Aviation services from first quarter 2015, giving Inmarsat the most powerful, flexible and capable portfolio of satellite communications services for aviation now and in the future, bar none.”

Inmarsat also confirmed the timetable for the launch of GX Aviation, its global Ka-band service. The first of the three I-5 satellites, currently under construction by Boeing, will be launched in the second half of 2013, followed by the other two at six month intervals. GX Aviation will be available from early 2015.

– GX to provide high speed Wi-Fi and true live TV

APEX, Long Beach | September 17, 2012– OnAir and Inmarsat have signed the official contract finalising the appointment of OnAir as the first Aviation Distribution Partner for Global Xpress (GX), the first global Ka-band network to provide inflight broadband connectivity for the aeronautical market. GX will provide passengers with ultrahigh-capacity Internet connectivity and will allow true live TV transmission.

OnAir currently uses Inmarsat SwiftBroadband (SBB) to provide the connectivity for Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir, and has been jointly working with Inmarsat on a seamless deployment path from SBB to GX. In preparation for the introduction of Global Xpress, OnAir has already started to secure customers for the launch of the satellite service.

Scheduled for service introduction in late 2014, Global Xpress will offer unprecedented data rates and bandwidth, backed by Inmarsat’s quality standards, performance and global reach. It will provide up to 50mbps outbound and up to 4.4mbps inbound to and from the aircraft, providing the same experience as terrestrial broadband. It is the only Ka-band network designed to provide consistent global coverage. Combined with OnAir’s unique network of over 80 regulatory approvals and more than 350 roaming agreements with mobile network operators, OnAir is the only inflight connectivity provider to offer coverage across the world.

“We are delighted to be working with Inmarsat to bring passengers the next generation of inflight connectivity, with the introduction of live TV being one of the highlights,” said Ian Dawkins, CEO of OnAir. “The provision of a consistent global service is particularly important for our customers, so that they know exactly what to expect, wherever and whenever they fly.”

“We have a very strong history with OnAir,” said Leo Mondale, Managing Director of Inmarsat GX. “OnAir was appointed our first SBB Distribution Partner back in 2006, and in 2009 was given an award for being the greatest contributor to SBB growth. We have every confidence that OnAir will deliver value to airlines and passengers with Global Xpress in the same way.”

This new agreement enables OnAir, now a leading provider of global SBB and GX services for commercial aviation, to remain at the forefront of the sector, while ensuring that the business becomes the benchmark for industry solutions.

• Inmarsat to provide packaged on-demand video content over the SwiftBroadband network, recreating the personalised on-demand TV experience in the air, with content streamed instantly to passengers’ smartphones, tablets or laptops
• SBTV is easy to deploy, and offers content including news, sport and business updates, transmitted live and regularly updated and refreshed throughout the flight
• SBTV allows airlines to customise content and choice of content providers, allowing unique service offerings and tailoring by region and/or flight route
• SwiftBroadband is trusted by airlines around the globe for reliable and ubiquitous satcoms, now delivering a brand new in-flight media experience for passengers –
See a world-first demonstration of Inmarsat’s SBTV at APEX 2012

LONDON and LONG BEACH | September 17, 2012 — APEX Expo (Booth 1231) – Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, has announced the launch of SBTV, a new platform that enables airlines to provide real-time and updated on-demand entertainment content to passengers’ own devices. News, sports and other video content is transmitted to the aircraft over the SwiftBroadband network and then distributed wirelessly to passengers’ own devices, which can include smartphones, laptops, tablets and other personal media players.

In today’s on-demand, multi-screen TV world, viewers are increasingly choosing to watch the latest shows streamed across IP networks to a variety of connected devices, enabling them to enjoy the content they love whenever and wherever they choose. Now with SBTV, airline passengers can access the latest news and entertainment in the same way, mirroring the viewing experience at home.

David Coiley, Inmarsat Vice President, Aviation, said: “SBTV has been designed to reflect the way TV content is now consumed by people on the ground, enabling more viewer choice thanks to the ability to consume on-demand content on PCs, tablets and smartphones. SBTV provides an opportunity for airlines to leapfrog the limitations of rolling broadcast news services by allowing passengers on-demand access to the latest news and sports programming on their own, to choose what they watch and when they watch it.”

SBTV enables airlines to select and tailor the volume and variety of content they offer their passengers, uniquely enabling customisation for specific routes or regions, providing a strong product differentiation opportunity. Content can be uploaded live, and updated as often as the airline chooses. SBTV can be deployed quickly, at low cost to the airline, and may be integrated on existing WiFi or IFE systems.

The appetite for on-demand viewing is growing rapidly across the globe. According to the most recent research results from comScore’s Video Metrix, more than 180 million US Internet users watched 33 billion online content videos in June 2012, up from 6.9 billion the previous year.

Coiley continued, “With the introduction of GX Aviation in early 2015, GXTV will become available, which will further increase the volume and range of real-time content that can be made available, delivering the ultimate solution for customised TV content delivery, including the ability to provide multiple broadcast IPTV channels.”

This is the latest innovation in Inmarsat’s long history as the premier satcoms partner for the aviation industry. For over 20 years, Inmarsat has provided communications for aircraft. Over 11,000 commercial and non-commercial aircraft currently rely on Inmarsat services. More than 24 leading airlines around the world have selected Inmarsat technology for inflight connectivity, including British Airways, Emirates, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and TAM Airlines. More than half of the world’s A380 fleet is equipped with Inmarsat SwiftBroadband.

To see a demonstration of SBTV at APEX – Booth 1231


Day two of Farnborough has come to an end and so far, the pundits who bet on Boeing and the aircraft leasing community were correct. The 737 MAX sales are North of 1,000 units while lessors have gobbled up a lion’s share of the orders. Airbus announced a $4.2B deal with Cathay today as both big plane vendors struggle in a down economy and the prospects of a declining military sales. So much for the bad news. The good news is Row 44’s CTO, John Guidon has agreed to grace our “Speaker’s Corner” series with (What else?) a treatise on Ku band inflight connectivity logic. What’s next, a refute by the Ka Community? We’ll see! Heeeeere’s Johnny:

Ku or Ka? A Summary of the Issues Shows Ku Makes More Sense
By Row 44’s John Guidon

I know that you’re hearing lots of opinions about whether Ku-band or Ka-band satellite technology makes the most sense for airlines to deploy for inflight Wi-Fi and entertainment now, next year and a few years forward.

In the quest for bandwidth, the satellite industry has moved through numerous bands (L, C, S, X, Ku and Ka) over time. Each has pros and cons, and all are still in use, having established their own defensible markets. Today the Airborne Mobile Satellite Services industry faces the choice between Ku and Ka bands for broadband service. The question is: Which serves the airline market better?

I’d like to give you the perspective of someone who has been deeply involved in the eight-year process of bringing to market the only airline connectivity system in production today on more than 300 aircraft worldwide. This system is supported by Ku-band because Ku is the most reliable, lowest risk and cost-effective technology available, and therefore, is the most sensible choice for supporting airlines’ Wi-Fi and entertainment content needs.

Universal: The Ku-band is a proven, mature commodity; more than 160 satellites in orbit create a global resource. Since one satellite can cover an entire continent or ocean, there’s enough overlap and redundancy to create real price competition. By contrast, the number of Ka-band satellites is just into double digits, and there is a disturbing trend: Typically, the requirements of each Ka satellite are somewhat incompatible with many or all of the others.

Antenna size: Advancements in antenna technology have made it possible to reduce the size of the Ku-band antenna to a very streamlined low profile addition. To that end, proponents of Ka-band satellites have touted the use of an even smaller antenna to support Ka. Prominent early claims hyped “50Mbps to an antenna the size of a paperback book” and so on. However, this is misleading. Industry experts believe that Ka-band antennas will be very similar in size to the Ku low-profile antennas used today. This is primarily due to regulatory factors and variations between Ka-band satellites, as well as needing to overcome the challenge of rain and cloud to Ka-band.

Radio Frequency (RF) subsystem cost: Airborne RF subsystems for Ku-band operation will cost 50 percent less than Ka-band in the near and mid-term. While costs will fall as time goes by, Ku-band is still estimated to remain more cost effective by approximately 30 percent. This is because Ka-band needs lower loss components at higher frequencies.

Consistency: A major concern for the end user is consistency of coverage, which is a critical area where broad-beam Ku-band satellites will continue to be superior. Ku satellites are typically built with a few beams that each cover a large area, often as big as a continent, and the service is consistent across the whole area. By contrast, Ka satellites are usually designed using “spot beams.” This means Ka-band will need to use up to hundreds of beams to cover the area of a single Ku beam. The problem in Ka-band is that the cost of provisioning service is determined by the maximum number of planes in each spot beam, but the revenue results from the average number of planes in that spot. Typically, the maximum number of planes in each small spot is several times the average. This means covering each spot costs several times more than it should; a cost which must be passed along to the airline customer. If service is under-provisioned, congestion will result, a well-known issue to users of tower-based services. The broader beams of Ku satellites suffer no such economic or infrastructural issues.

Television: Ku-band is the only satellite technology that can cost-effectively deliver live television programming to airlines. Ka spot beams make TV delivery cost prohibitive because of having to carry the TV live streams in every cell where even a single plane may fly. By contrast, all the planes under a broad Ku beam can receive the same, single broadcast of the live TV streams.

Fungibility: Ku-band satellites are broadly interchangeable and they compete for business. Conversely, there are no competitive free market equivalent offers for Ka-band, which may ultimately be a deterrent for widespread acceptance. Competition between rival services will bring the lowest priced and highest quality service to a global coverage solution, in any current or future band. Only the most competitive and cost-effective solutions should ultimately survive, and today Ku-band is the only satellite service to meet those standards.

Timing: In the event of a Ka-band satellite failure, what are the recovery options? Could it take days, months or years? Given a more than nine percent rate of launch/deployment/in-service failures, there is a risk to dependency on future Ka-band satellites that cannot be mitigated in the near and medium term. In addition, grant by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of licenses for airborne Ka terminals and antennas may well take years, especially given the need to consider other, non-geostationary, satellites, which are already in the Ka band. In sharp contrast, Ku band is available today, offers redundancy in the event of failures and is approved by the FCC and worldwide.

In conclusion, Ku-band satellites have been and will continue to be, for several years, the lowest risk and most dependable solution for delivering cost-effective, consistent broadband services to airlines. Row 44 will continue to focus on the issues that are meaningful to airlines, including development of migration paths to evolving technologies, and pushing for those technologies to be delivered with the same reliability and cost-structure that our airline partners desire. Only then will these technologies be ready to address the commercial airline connectivity market.

About the Author
John Guidon is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for Row 44. Mr. Guidon is an engineer and serial entrepreneur living in Southern California. Row 44 is the leading satellite based in-flight WiFi and device-based entertainment provider for commercial airlines.

Perhaps, IFExpress is the last to know but were you aware that Gogo, the Chicago-based inflight connectivity service provider, has big plans in Europe and the US and is presently sorting out the satcom service providers for that enhanced growth? Their plan is to deliver the needed airborne connectivity bandwidth that will accompany future demand for your inset Wi-Fi-driven connectivity services. If you also guessed that the bizjet community will get those favors first, you are again correct. From their website:

“Ka-band satellite: Aircell’s Ka-band satellite technology will provide additional capacity to supplement what is available through ATG, ATG-4, and current generation satellite technology, as well as enable Gogo service beyond the continental United States. Based on satellite launch and antenna development schedules, Aircell expects its Ka-band technology to be available for the continental U.S. in 2013 and globally by 2015.” The website went on to say, “For the business aviation market, Aircell, a Gogo company, currently offers three different in-flight technologies, including Iridium Satellite, Inmarsat SwiftBroadband (satellite), and Gogo Biz™ (ATG). We will soon announce our plans for ATG-4 and Ka-band satellite for our business aviation customers. Interestingly, no mention is made about Ku-Band on their website (except for the news release), however, it provides a (in their own word) a ‘bridge” to the future cost effective Ka solution, expected some 3 years from now. We note that Gogo has also purchased 1 MHz of Airfone aviation communication bandwidth (849.0-850.5 & 894.0-895.5 MHz range) and the back office from LiveTV, acquiring bandwidth and business aviation customers in the process.

Here’s the big picture as we see it:
1. Gogo is branching out to support worldwide inflight connectivity solutions while, at the same time, increasing their US bandwidth.
2. Gogo is starting that effort in the US with the Airfone business & bandwidth purchase, while in Europe they are looking to Ku Band to do so… at least in the interim.
3. Gogo is looking toward a future Ka Band solution starting in the US as it will reduce data congestion and garner the lowest user cost-per-megabyte.
4. Gogo is providing these solutions to the bizjet community first for so many reasons (certification, profit, speed of entry, hardware size, just to name a few).
6. Watch for regionals to get the Gogo enhanced ATG solution next (again, it makes sense for so many reasons).

Airline demands are also driving Gogo’s overwater and overseas efforts as they want their passengers to see the same connectivity interface wherever they or their partners fly. No doubt, every connectivity provider and alliance member will have to have a worldwide presence so expect to see some strange bedfellows in the future – given the connectivity profits in business jet operations, we anticipate competition there too.

Lastly, to prove our point, Panasonic, who has over 1200 unannounced future commercial aircraft, satcom-based, connectivity installs just inked a deal with a Lufthansa Technik and formed IDAIR (joint venture) to provide single-aisle and wide-body, business aircraft connectivity solutions. Lastly, you gotta wonder about the future for connectivity providers still going it on their own!