This issue of IFExpress always always raises a few feathers so let’s get started with some IFExpress predictions, then we will present the inputs from folks who were willing to provide their names, and finally, those who wish to remain anonymous will contribute as well. We should probably note that not all predictions landed in the IFEC category and thus it looks to be an interesting year – and things just might change anywhere!
IFExpress 2017 Predictions
- Narrower aircraft seats are coming in 2017, especially in newer low class offerings where only certain sized carry-on baggage will be permitted – smaller and surely less comfortable as well. We already know United Airlines has a new low cost Basic Economy package that will be copied by others. The rub will be what limitations will be placed on passengers who do not have the airline reward travel card! Hey, many folks can travel short flights and put up with almost anything. It is all a function of what they have to take with them. And yes, it will be in the back of the plane.
- More colored cabin environments will be here in 2017, but also as a result of new LED lighting in the plane – probably more blue! [We note: A recent Boeing study concluded that passengers will perceive that the airplane is cleaner, more comfortable, newer, and with better air and more room, all with the correct lighting. Even one German university test proved while flying with light that contains increased red, (not blue) light components, is more calming and cause less passenger stress.]
- We cannot say this enough but Data will be the big deal in 2017, whether it is an airline examining their routes with a goal for less fuel, to using social media to communicate directly with passengers or even potential travelers, to connection with the aircraft for more inflight system information for operation or security. OK, this is not much of a surprise!
- Some folks predict that light will be used to deliver connectivity. However, with all the issues involved with outside solar, safety lighting, and other sources of interference (Hasn’t this been tried earlier?), we think otherwise. Anyway, Bluetooth as a connectivity radio frequency has slipped under the radar and since most connectivity devices have the capability and the corporate jet world has adopted it, we expect an inflight commercial airline installation this year. With Bluetooth 5.0 alive there may be even more interest in a Bt connectivity solution. Hey, 4X range, 2X speed, and 8X capacity, and no power increase, what’s not to like?”
- Watch for an airline to test ground-based, high bandwidth 2.4 GHz, directed connectivity service like those proposed for SmartSky and Gogo. This is more of a 2017 sure thing than a prediction.
- We fear aviation manufacturing layoffs, let’s see what happens there but don’t look for that job just yet. The layoff scenario has already started at Boeing, who is downsizing to the tune of some 8,000 employees, and could reach 10% there. Airbus is next after production continues for a bit.
- Maintenance of aircraft will see more outsourcing, new technology products like AI and voice technology used in maintenance products, and more consolidation in the MRO world (Maintenance Repair Overhaul).
- While we hope it does not happen, but be very concerned that a hacker doesn’t get aboard a plane this year, transmit a fake Wi-Fi service and install a lot of ransomware (like doxware) on folks trying to get Wi-Fi service. In 2017 it is a possibility and be sure you know how to get online when onboard!
- What’s next for future SATCOM? How about Q/V bands: 33 – 75 GHz? If the FCC auctions get it together, perhaps even 14 GHz has a chance?
- We shy away from talking about aircraft control hacking, but have you thought about hackers using a DDoS attach or ransomware on an airline reservation system – might happen?
- The Boeing 787 will finally get the proper acclaim that it is the only commercial jet airplane where cabin/crew air is taken directly from the atmosphere with electrically powered compressors and not from engine ‘bleed air’! The health guru’s will help.
- Cybercrime damages will continue to grow (costing the world $6 trillion annually by 2021), up from $3 trillion last year; ransomware will be the fastest growing threat in terms of new attacks and costs. Global spending on cybersecurity products and services will exceed $1 trillion cumulatively over the next 5 years from 2017 to 2021. Easy procurement of cheap IoT devices or Wi-Fi enabled products introduces a serious level of risk — of which many people are unaware. As one expert noted: “Transportation systems may be immobilized.” Or, as another one said: “My second prediction for 2017 is that cyber personnel will become a rare commodity like we have never seen before. Organizations have received the message, and are staffing and investing, but that demand generates a supply that is not available.” Don’t you think there will be plenty of openings in aviation security in 2017? We do!
- Lastly, as strange as it seems, “a self-driving” aircraft concept for passenger planes will be talked about this year – perhaps just for parcel delivery but projects like ALIAS are just the beginning.
Named 2017 Reader Predictions
Here are our reader IFEC predictions and we start of with those from APEX CEO, Joe Leader:
- Connectivity announcements and deployment will hit a new high for the industry.
- In-flight entertainment continues its expansion with more global IFE system installations and upgrades.
- Airline passenger experience will become less siloed inside of airlines as carriers look for greater market differentiation.
- On flights without built-in IFE or connectivity, “Near-FI” solutions offering, entertainment will become much more common. This will escalate in particular on low-cost carriers looking to differentiate their products.
- In-flight advertising will see the beginning of a new age of renaissance.
- The Internet of Things (IoT) will broaden from case-studies on aircraft to first tangible implementations.
- With the Bluetooth 5.0 specification released, we will see first announcements about Bluetooth connectivity to IFE in future products.
- Long-haul business class will enter a new era just as British Airways introduced the first lie-flat for business class in 1999. We could call it the suite era or the privacy era. This period will begin this year marked by increasing level of suite-like privacy on long-haul business class products. It will be initiated by visionary airlines in different manners and progress to a new bar for long-haul business class passenger experience over the next two decades.
Next, from Henry Chen Weinstein at Cockpit Innovations we have:
“I think 2017 in Tech will be about the upcoming implications of new technology on our current way of work. The [changing] place of startups in our space as more players understand the value of innovation on a global scale. Establishing new ways to take our aviation business forward.”
Here is the prediction note from John Courtright at SIE:
“I predict that the Modular Cabin Concept will generate a lot more attention from airline operators. The ability to transform a commercial aircraft from a “domestic” (2-Class) configuration to an “international” configuration (3-Class) on an overnight or less using palletized modules to swap out interiors will generate great interest from operators. Aside from the aircraft utilization flexibility, the Modular Cabin Concept will generate increased operational revenue (ROI) from a given aircraft asset by allowing the operator to customize their service level to different markets at a relatively low cost.”
Rich Salter, now with FTS chimed in with:
“All the talk about the death (or not) of seatback IFE is not the relevant question: the real interesting question is where will displays be located next – on the wrist, on entire seatbacks, baggage bins, sidewall of fuselage, VR or immersive glasses, etc., not to mention non-cabin locations like cockpit, baggage, lounges, etc. They could be thin as paper, and could be foldable/rollable (as are OLEDs). They will consume extremely low power and be fed data via wireless (WiFi). Smartwatches are only the beginning. In summary, advances in wireless streaming and display tech will lead to some fascinating implementations of IFE displays in unconventional places!”
Todd Hamblin at Global (GADC) told IFExpress in 2017:
- The Wireless IFE market will continue to grow, with Portable Wireless IFE being a subset for those ultra-low cost carriers.
- Companies based in China will become a larger part of the IFE and Connectivity landscape.
- An airline will attempt to install a Portable Wireless IFE system on their aircraft without permission from the FAA or EASA even though the server contains Lithium Ion batteries and might interfere with existing aircraft systems.
- The FAA will be impacted and safety compromised by the changing political climate.
“I predict that the first elastic virtual servers will creep into the cabin on airliners and it just might be Bluetooth that drives it. Elastic devices are the latest generation of server that expands and contracts based on demand. It’s a floating platform that can replicate itself in virtual space.”
Kelvin Boyette CEO of Latitude Aero observes:
- Mergers will dominate 2017, allowing the larger multi-national companies to offer a menu of turnkey services to both airlines and aircraft OEMs.
- 2017 will be the year that seat refurbishment emerges from its “niche” status. New products, such as IFE and ISPS, are emerging faster than new seat OEMs can get them into the seat, so the refurbishment centers are where the airlines will turn to offer the most up to date, modern, passenger experience to their clientele.
- Both BYOD and embedded IFE will flourish. I do not believe only one will succeed. Both will explode this year.
Michael Reilly, VP Entertainment Services, Arconics – A ViaSat Company notes:
- My key prediction for the year is that those airlines who don’t take the step into connectivity in 2017 will certainly take steps on the ‘path to connectivity’ – and there’s a couple of different ways to define that… I think a lot of airlines apart from the obvious cost barrier to entry to connectivity are waiting for other developments – competitive and even marketplace ie: changes to the vendor side of the industry – be that product, pricing etc.
- Naturally as we get more airlines closer to connectivity, security is becoming a hot topic, as is bigger and better use of data.
- Another prediction is that effective use of data will help break down the traditional siloing that has always gone on in the airline business and that’s exciting.
- I’d sum up my prediction by saying that 2017 is ‘finally’ the year where. Connectivity, Wireless and Mobile finally made the strides forward that moved the needle on the bottom line for airlines.
Craig Foster of Valour Consultancy said:
- We will see one of the in-flight connectivity service providers acquired by a much larger company. Additionally, we’ll also see at least one wireless in-flight entertainment vendor snapped up by someone with much more clout.
- The number of aircraft with in-flight connectivity systems installed and activated will surpass 7,000 by the end of the year. Regions aside from North America will continue to witness strong growth and we will likely see another carrier based in Latin America announce connectivity plans before long (in addition to Avianca Brasil and GOL).
- More and more airlines will announce plans to deploy IFE systems that allow passengers to pay their personal electronic devices to the main screen in an effort to match expectations around second screening and to better personalise the experience.
Unnamed 2017 Reader Predictions
We start off with predictions from a “Cabin Solution Provider”:
- The exponential growth of cabin Wi-Fi usage within the confines of the same aircraft will lead to more congestion in the cabin. One prediction says that passenger data to and from aircraft will more than quadruple in 2017. We knew that something like this was coming. However, what’s new is the speed at which this is happening.
- In 2017 the speed of the PED-pull in terms of passenger experience, apps etc. will increase even further. It certainly will be very much faster than the gentle ambling in which many of the aircraft hardware-push industry players are used to operate.
Another few from another Unnamed Predictor:
- Low cost carrier mergers and acquisitions will accelerate globally.
- With airline capacity surpassing global market demand, this will be a year including news of airline deferments and reductions. The exception to this rule will be in next-generation aircraft connecting previously unconnected city pairs. For the industry, this will be a relatively landing.
- Airlines in a more challenging global environment that raise their passenger experience will outperform carriers that focus on reducing passenger experience to reduce costs.
And lastly, still another Unnamed Predictor told IFExpress:
- Hacking the Baggage Systems at major hubs will occur to misdirect luggage?
- Hacking will occur to shut down refueling facilities at major airports.
- Hackers will find a way to infect the IFE system to download passenger data and airline sales information direct from the aircraft, putting at liability Airlines and IFE suppliers. Class Action suit to follow. Revenue streams will be jeopardized for both airlines, IFE suppliers and product/service providers accordingly.
- All economy seats on American / Domestic airlines will follow the pay as you go scheme: everything short of the toilets will be ‘pay to play’: boarding sequence; stowable baggage; check-in bags; food; drink; entertainment; EVERYTHING.
- Donald Trump’s administration will make significant progress to privatize government agencies and systems – a la Russian Model – Air Traffic Control will be privatized and sold off; FAA will be privatized; and the Space Programs under NASA will also be spun off. If not in this coming year, the effort may take at least part of his first term. (Editor’s Note: IFExpress apologizes to this predictor as we just did not have the space (nerve?) to post all the input – Sorry!).
Thank you to everybody who contributed and we close with the words of Arthur C. Clarke: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
· ViaSat Gains Connected Aircraft Software, Wireless In-flight Entertainment, Mobile Applications and Airline Document Management Expertise
· Arconics Brings A Complementary Set of Existing Commercial Airline Customers, Including Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Among Others
Carlsbad, CA and Dublin, Ireland | November 14, 2016– ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global broadband services and technology company, today announced it acquired Arconics, an innovative provider of software solutions to the aviation industry. Through this acquisition ViaSat gains broader expertise, aviation-grade software and mobile applications to make flying safer and more efficient for pilots, cabin crews and flight operations teams as well as applications that make entertaining passengers and opening new service and revenue opportunities for airlines possible.
The Arconics connected aircraft software platform enables the Arconics App Suite, which spans wireless In-flight Entertainment (IFE), Electronic Flight Bag (EFB), Airline Document Management and Cabin Management solutions, to communicate and share data with the aircraft and, using available connectivity, to connect with ground systems across mobile or avionics platforms. Today, tens of thousands of pilots, ground staff and cabin crew members across five continents depend on Arconics software to safely and efficiently operate their fleets. Airline customers include: Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Philippine Airlines, Tigerair Australia, SpiceJet and others.
“By acquiring Arconics, we are bolstering our ability to serve the global aviation market,” said Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Mobility business, ViaSat. “We believe combining our strengths with Arconics will position ViaSat to be the market leader for connectivity, passenger services and flight deck applications and operations.”
Prior to the acquisition, Arconics had a partnership with ViaSat, primarily focused on serving the wireless IFE needs of multiple airline customers. Post-acquisition, ViaSat expects to also offer airlines real-time insight, control and agility of aircraft and flight data with highly-integrated, highly-customizable aircraft operations tools that tap into the power of ViaSat’s advanced high capacity Ka-band satellite network, which has more capacity in orbit than any other in-flight WiFi provider.
“ViaSat offers Arconics a strategic match – both culturally and technologically,” said Arconics Chief Executive Officer Niall O’Sullivan. “We know ViaSat well, having partnered with them on a number of opportunities to deliver our world-class CloudStore wireless IFE product. Together, we believe the complementary nature of the technologies and products of Arconics and ViaSat will enhance the combined company’s ability to deliver exceptional end-to-end experiences across the entire aircraft value-chain.”
In connection with the acquisition, ViaSat establishes a presence in Dublin, Ireland, and will continue to build its operations in Sydney, Australia. More than 30 Arconics team members with both technical and business expertise will join ViaSat, including Niall O’Sullivan. IBI Corporate Finance advised Arconics on the transaction. The transaction is not expected to materially affect ViaSat non-GAAP (pro forma) earnings for fiscal year 2017. However, ViaSat has not completed its valuation analysis and, accordingly, has not determined the impact to GAAP earnings.
Stockhom and Carlsbad, CA | September 8, 2016– SAS, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, has been focused on bringing innovation to its passengers since 1946. With a passion and vision to ‘make life easier’ for Scandinavia’s frequent flyers, SAS is making investments of MSEK 500 across its entire short and medium haul fleet – from installing the fastest WiFi on the market to completing a full cabin upgrade. By partnering with ViaSat, SAS can offer onboard WiFi speeds of 12 Mbps and higher to each passenger; ensuring time spent on board will be more productive and more enjoyable with streaming TV, music and movies.
“Many of our customers are frequent flyers and we play an important part in the lives of many people. The upgrade we implemented on our long haul aircraft gained a very positive reception and we are now upgrading our short and medium haul fleet, which will also include high-speed WiFi with speeds that enable time on board to be utilized for work or to relax and enjoy a streamed movie or TV series. As both passengers and crew on board are now connected, we can take our personal service to greater heights while continuing to develop our digital, smart solutions that make life easier,” says Rickard Gustafson, President and CEO of SAS.
Giving Passengers a Seamless WiFi Experience
SAS is committed to delivering seamless WiFi travel experiences where passengers can access all of their content and information from anywhere: at home, at the airport or on board. The new onboard high-speed WiFi service gives passenger’s gate-to-gate internet access with the fastest speed available on the market.
In addition to streaming, social media and traditional workplace applications, passengers can also expect to get better assistance from the cabin crew, which have been recently equipped with iPad Minis that will be connected to the WiFi system. With new high-speed WiFi capabilities SAS crew will be able to access flight and passenger information – before take-off, during the flight and after the flight lands. This includes helping passengers check if their flight is on time to the status of connecting flights, check their EuroBonus account or even book a EuroBonus flight, shop in the EuroBonus store, rent a car, book a taxi to meet them at the airport or even tell SAS crew members what they thought of the service – all while on board.
The first aircraft with the new WiFi-system will enter service in the second half of 2017. Onboard WiFi will be free on short haul flights for all SAS EuroBonus members and SAS Plus ticket holders.
“In working with SAS, we are making the internet accessible, fast and easy-to-use at 35,000 feet. Only by coupling the ViaSat end-to-end service platform with Eutelsat’s European satellite connectivity, can we enable airlines, like SAS, to offer a best-in-class onboard WiFi service in Europe for free to EuroBonus-members and SAS Plus passengers,” says Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO, ViaSat.
Upgrading the Cabin for a Better Overall Experience
The first aircraft with the refreshed cabin interior will be SAS’s new A320neo, which in addition to extra leg room, new and more comfortable seats, a lighting system that aligns with the time of day and USB outlets at seats to keep personal devices charged, will also offer 15-20% lower fuel consumption. The interior design is in line with the new cabin offered on SAS long haul routes, which was launched in 2015. The new interior quickly became very popular with both Scandinavian and international customers.
In addition to 30 new A320s, 70 existing cabins will also be upgraded between 2017 and mid-2019. The WiFi onboard and cabin upgrades are expected to amount to a total investment of approximately MSEK 500 over a three year period.
Helsinki and Carlsbad, CA | September 1, 2016– Finnair has signed an agreement with ViaSat Inc., (NASDAQ: VSAT) a global broadband services and technology company, to install a high-speed wireless internet network on its entire Airbus A320 series short-haul fleet flying in Europe. The installation of the Wi-Fi equipment will begin in May 2017, and will be completed by June 2018.
With a connection speed of 12 Mbps or higher per passenger, the new system will offer the fastest in-flight internet connection currently available on the market, which will also enable the use of increasingly popular video streaming services. ViaSat will ensure end-to-end in-flight connectivity service across the Finnair fleet, and has partnered with Eutelsat to deliver the high-speed satellite-based internet service, which will cover the entire European continent.
“Our customers increasingly value the possibility of being connected during their flights and this change will also create great opportunities for Finnair to further develop its in-flight portal that will serve customers with news, entertainment and great shopping opportunities on their portable devices,” says Piia Karhu, SVP, Customer Experience Development at Finnair. “We are very pleased to partner with ViaSat on this project as we will be able to offer our customers the best possible Wi-Fi offering available on the market today, and that has the ability to scale, once the installations are completed.”
“Finnair is a forward-looking airline that is recognized worldwide for customer service,” says Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Mobility at ViaSat. “With the ViaSat in-flight Wi-Fi system, enabled across Europe by Eutelsat’s service, Finnair can deliver greater value to its customers by giving them the freedom to use their own device to engage with the internet in new ways – from enhanced online shopping to out-of-the-box online entertainment experiences.”
Last July, Finnair announced that its entire long-haul fleet of Airbus A330 aircraft would be retrofitted with Wi-Fi connectivity by May 2017. Finnair is currently operating six A350-XWB aircraft which already offer wireless connectivity for its passengers. The airline is expected to receive an additional five A350 aircraft by the end of next year. With both the long-haul and short-haul fleet set to offer internet connectivity by June 2018, over a thousand route pairs in Finnair’s network will offer Wi-Fi connectivity for transiting passengers. Additionally, Finnair’s Wi-Fi coverage over Chinese airspace has recently been opened, having been closed previously due to limitations by the authorities.
Finnair’s wireless internet access is free for Business class passengers, Finnair Plus Gold and Platinum customers, and oneworld Sapphire and Emerald level customers. Economy class passengers can purchase internet access at an hourly rate or for the duration of the flight.
Carlsbad, CA | July 25, 2016– The United States Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) awarded ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global broadband services and technology company, a non-competitive, firm-fixed-price contract to provide senior leaders and their support staff with global in-flight broadband and communications services. The award covers support for VC-25s, C-17s, C-32s, C-37s, C-40s and the complete range of VIP and special air mission aircraft.
The ViaSat in-flight internet service has been recognized industry-wide for delivering high-quality, reliable and fast in-flight internet service. As noted by ViaSat, the service enables “a Situation Room in the Sky” experience – with the ability to use the in-flight broadband connection to stream full-motion high-definition video for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), en-route Command and Control (C2) and Search and Rescue (S&R) missions; maintain two-way communications through HD video conference calling or voice over internet protocol calls; access real-time intelligence and other location-based, live-sensor data for critical decision-making and more.
“ViaSat’s high-capacity global in-flight internet service ensures executive and government leaders and their teams can stay connected, informed and productive, maximizing the effectiveness of time in-flight with ‘Situation Room and Command Center’ connectivity in the sky,” said Ken Peterman, senior vice president and general manager, Government Systems Division, ViaSat. “This award is a significant accomplishment and we are proud to be delivering remarkably fast data speeds and an abundance of capacity to support the in-flight communications needs of our government’s senior leadership on Air Force One and other special air mission aircraft.”
ViaSat believes a key enabler to delivering this global in-flight broadband connectivity is that it offers a field-proven, certified, hybrid Ku-/Ka-band system, which will keep government aircraft connected to ViaSat’s best available satellite network. The hybrid terminal and radome enables automatic in-flight network switching across Ku- and Ka-band satellite networks for an advanced “global roaming capability.”
According to DISA, the face value of this award is $33,052,330 funded by fiscal 2016 operations and maintenance funding. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $73,217,722. The synopsis/notice of intent was posted on the Federal Business Opportunities webpage. The period of performance is June 1, 2016, through May 31, 2017, with two six-month option periods. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, is the contracting activity.
– Each ViaSat-3 Satellite Offers Over 1-Terabit Per Second of Network Capacity — which is Equal to the Total Capacity of All Commercial Satellites in Space Today
– Platform Gives Consumers Choice In Internet Provider by Enabling 100+ Mbps Broadband to Any Home
– First Two Groundbreaking ViaSat-3 Class of Satellites Underway with Boeing
Carlsbad, CA | February 9, 2016– ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global broadband services and technology company, continues to redefine the role satellite plays in the competitive broadband communications market with the introduction of the ViaSat-3 ultra-high capacity satellite platform – which is comprised of three ViaSat-3 class satellites with state-of-the-art ground network infrastructure. Work is underway with the first two ViaSat-3 satellites, with ViaSat starting work on the satellite payloads and Boeing Satellite Systems starting on the associated satellite bus platforms, expected for integration and delivery in 2019. The first two satellites will focus on the Americas and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), respectively, with a third satellite system planned for the Asia Pacific region, completing ViaSat’s global service coverage.
Delivering More Choice through More Network Capacity
The ViaSat-3 platform is the next big step for ViaSat to fulfill its ambition of delivering a global broadband network with enough capacity to deliver more consumer choice with an affordable, high-speed, high-quality internet and video streaming service. The first two satellites will deliver more than twice the total network capacity of the approximately 400 commercial communications satellites in space today – combined.
The ViaSat-3 platform can serve more customer demand by:
- Delivering a 100+ Megabit per second (Mbps) residential internet service, enabling 4K ultra-high definition video streaming;
- Supporting each aircraft with hundreds of Mbps of in-flight connectivity services and video streaming for commercial airlines, business jets and high-value government aircraft;
- Providing up to 1-Gigabit per second (Gbps) speeds for use in maritime, oceanic and other corporate enterprise applications such as oil and gas platforms; and
- Offering affordable satellite Wi-Fi connectivity to the billions of unconnected people in emerging markets.
Technology with a Global Mission
ViaSat’s innovative satellite and ground technology provides unprecedented capabilities in terms of service speed, cost and flexibility. The platform:
- Delivers more than 1,000 Gbps – or 1-Terabit per second (Tbps) – of network capacity per satellite to enable high-speed internet, including video streaming, at scale;
- Leverages dynamic flexibility to continually direct capacity where customers are located – whether at home or on the move. With an estimated one half of the world’s population living on only one percent of the Earth’s land and the other half broadly dispersed, the ability to target capacity is critical to creating a true global broadband network;
- Utilizes cloud technology for network processing and operations. By migrating portions of the network into the cloud, the platform advances and simplifies network infrastructure, improves system-wide reliability and reduces network capital and operational costs; and
- Operates compatibly with ViaSat-2 class terminals, to extend coverage, improve transmission speeds and further reduce network capacity costs to a fraction of what they are today.
“The innovations in the ViaSat-3 system do what until now has been impossible in the telecommunications industry – combining enormous network capacity with global coverage, and dynamic flexibility to allocate resources according to geographic demand,” said Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO, ViaSat. “While there are multiple companies and consortia with ambitions to connect the world with telecom, satellite and space technologies, the key technologies underlying ViaSat-3 are in hand today, enabling us to move forward in building the first broadband platform to bring high-speed internet connectivity, including video streaming, to all.”
Melbourne, FL | October 29, 2015– Satcom Direct is the first Inmarsat SwiftBroadband (SBB) distribution partner to provision and enable the new SwiftBroadband high data rate (HDR) service with Honeywell avionics, nearly doubling in-flight data speeds available to business aviation.
In its latest “first” for business aviation, Satcom Direct has made HDR service available to SwiftBroadband customers, providing a faster and more efficient broadband connection. HDR enhances passengers’ overall network connectivity experience by unlocking the ability to use high-bandwidth applications in-flight. The service can provide up to 650 kbps per streaming channel. Customers with a Satcom Direct Router (SDR™) can use Satcom Direct’s exclusive SkyBondSM service to combine up to 2 channels, currently, providing speeds of up to 1.3 Mbps. This is approximately two times faster per channel than traditional SwiftBroadband in-flight connections.
“The number one request we get from operators, passengers and VVIP customers worldwide is faster internet. Satcom Direct is constantly developing and leveraging ways to increase airborne data speeds, so it’s only natural we would be the first to bring HDR to business aviation. Checking email, streaming video, and internet browsing just got significantly faster for our customers and we couldn’t be more pleased to be able to deliver it,” said Jim Jensen, CEO and Founder of Satcom Direct.
Honeywell developed and tested HDR using its proven HSD-400 and HD-710 onboard hardware. The HDR service supports multiple new streaming configurations, including symmetrical and asymmetrical solutions, configurable in either half or full channel data rates. This allows the operator to select a configuration based on their connectivity needs. It is available to operators with select Honeywell terminals and the purchase of a license key, with some compatible models requiring an on-wing software upgrade to enable the service.
Other firsts Satcom Direct has achieved in recent months include being first in business aviation to prove its services over Inmarsat’s new Ka-band network in readiness for launch of the Jet Connex service; first to offer channel bonding via Cobham equipment for streaming over SwiftBroadband; first to provide global voice and text services using your number on your device at any altitude via its exclusive GlobalVTSM service; and it launched the world’s first IT certification for aviation, AeroIT.
Going to APEX EXPO in Portland Oregon, USA, September 28 – October 1, 2015? Here is a link to the Early Bird Rates – APEX 2015 EXPO. See you there!
Chris Fallon sent IFExpress this: “Today, Virgin America announced it will deploy ViaSat’s satellite-based in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity service, Exede In The Air, for its next 10 aircraft – offering ‘home-like’ broadband experiences with full streaming media capabilities in the air – to passengers. This is a major move for the airline, as they will now offer significantly faster WiFi service in the skies – all backed by a service level agreement to every connected passenger.”
Announcement highlights include:
- Virgin America/ViaSat partnership will bring the fastest, highest quality Wi-Fi in the skies to Virgin America’s next 10 A320 aircraft deliveries – beginning this September.
- ViaSat’s satellite system will deliver internet speeds that are 8 to 10 times faster than any other in-flight Wi-Fi system – allowing travelers to experience internet speeds similar to what they have at home.
- Virgin America will be the first commercial airline to give guests continuous connectivity access to the best available network by operating in both Ku and Ka-band satellite networks on the same aircraft.
- With the unique bandwidth economics of ViaSat-1 and the forthcoming ViaSat-2 satellite networks, only ViaSat can enable airlines to engage ALL of their guests in an in-flight, online experience just like they’d get on the ground – including streaming high quality video.
Check out the YouTube Video
IFExpress got a peek at Tim Farrar’s (TMF Associates) presentation at the June 8 Global Connected Aircraft Summit in Washington DC and thought our readers might like to see what a connectivity expert had to say and how he views the inflight connectivity market – don’t miss this one, it’s free. Tim is a “big picture” expert and you will learn something from almost every chart.
Aircraft security is now in the forefront for the FAA – Check out (US DOT), DOT OpSpec D301, Aircraft Network Security Program (ANSP) to support the Next Generation, e-Enabled aircraft. We contacted Mark Thompson and the quote that stuck with us is as follows; “Hardware security is the only secure way to protect your key,” obviously referring to the potential of eliminating hacking solutions to on-aircraft data communication. “I am concerned that without some positive actions, we could have an incident. I worked at McDonnell Douglas, and the worst possible thing that can happen is an incident. They happen, and when they do, we all ask ourselves, could I have done more to stop it. I like that the FAA has chosen to create an AC, we need to make sure people understand security will not increase costs at all. The FAA is going to require all operators to create a security system like what is provided by the OEMs on new aircraft.” He mentioned an article that you might want to review if aircraft security is your thing. Further here is another news source that might be of interest.
We just discovered BOSE Quiet Comfort 20i Acoustic Noise Canceling Headset (ear plug-in’s) and since most of our readers travel with phones and audio reproduction devices, we had to pass on what we have learned and in summary:
- Firstly, they sound incredible, almost as good as the BOSE QC 25 headphones.
- Second, they are comfortable for long periods of time to listen or block out noise. While 13 -to15 hours of comfortable wear have been reported – we believe it, and they stay in your ear…
- Third, the noise reduction is almost as complete as the BOSE QC 25’s.
- Fourth, they all allow device phone calls (if using an iPhone) with volume controls, answer switch… and a neat side button that toggles noise cancellation for listening to outside sounds. (On the plane, there is the continual issue with headsets that involves answering a question from the cabin crew or a passenger seated near you. Not so with the BOSE QC 20I’s, there is an Aware Button on the side of the control case that allows external sounds to come right thru – push once and the music level drops a bit but the external sound is clear, push again and you are back into music.)
And last, at retail, they are expensive, but more on that in a minute.
You can find lots of Internet /YouTube reviews so if you are seriously considering a pair, please review there too. But make no mistake, these earphones were designed to be used with Apple devices like iPhone, iPad, iPod… and they do seem to work with all perfectly… thus the “i” in their name. The BOSE QC 20’s are for the non Apple devices as you might have guessed.
Headsets (cups) on a plane are usually the audio connection of choice because they, by their nature, limit the outside noise intrusion. With noise cancellation, they even work better. The issues that work against them, however, are “ear heat” in the confined space and ear drum pressure that seems to result from an unbalance of ear drum pressure in the cabin vs in the headphone cup/ear cavity… especially when there is a change of altitude. Further, lugging around headphones is a bit more bothersome that earphones, and we note, until we tried the advantage of earphones for convenience, we will never go back… never. While I love my BOSE Noise Canceling Headphones, for travel, the QC 20i is the new travel mate… and this doesn’t even include consideration for the zipper headphone case.
Now, price…ugh! the market demands $250 (US) if you search out retail. We checked on eBay, and a new pair went from $169 – $200. If you don’t mind “used” and have a little denatured alcohol, we have seen deals under $100.
BOSE QC 20iCompatibility –
The following Apple® products are compatible with the audio cable that has an inline remote and microphone on the QC 20i:
- iPhone®: 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, 6, 6 Plus
- iPod touch®: second, third, fourth and fifth generations
- iPod classic®: 2009 (120GB and 160GB)
- iPod nano®: fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh generations
- iPad®: all models
- MacBook®: unibody and Pro
- iPod shuffle®: 3rd and fourth generation
Finally, from the hackerspace (Facecrooks): Delta Air Lines, Facebook Users Hit With Viral Giveaway Hoax. “A Facebook promotion from ‘Delta Airways’ has gone viral on the site, getting shared nearly 65,000 times in 24 hours. The only issue: the promotion is a hoax, and it’s from an imposter Facebook page.”
- ViaSat Yonder High-Speed Internet Service Enables the Fastest, Global, Satellite-Based Business Jet Cabin Connectivity Available Today
Geneva | May 19, 2015– ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), an innovator in broadband and communication technologies and services, today announced it has been selected by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation as the sole source Ku-band equipment supplier to outfit Gulfstream’s large cabin business jets with ViaSat Yonder® high-speed internet service. The ViaSat equipment is available on Gulfstream’s existing large cabin aircraft (G450, G550, G650) and new aircraft (G500, G600) either as a factory option, or as an aftermarket install.
The new agreement builds on a previous third-party relationship, where ViaSat has provided global Ku-band in-flight connectivity hardware to Gulfstream and hundreds of its customers for nearly 10 years. With today’s announcement, ViaSat will now directly provide the ViaSat Mobile Terminal 1500, which includes a Ku-band antenna, modem and antenna control unit, to enable the Yonder service on an extended line of Gulfstream large cabin aircraft. Service remains available through ViaSat’s service providers.
“Gulfstream is recognized as providing an exceptional in-flight passenger experience, which includes ensuring best-in-class internet service provided by ViaSat,” said Ken Peterman, senior vice president and general manager, ViaSat. “We have the ability today to offer the fastest business jet in-cabin internet service with Yonder, and the foresight to meet tomorrow’s bandwidth demand with our Exede In The Air service to ensure Gulfstream business jet passengers can stay connected no matter where they fly.”
ViaSat Yonder business aviation service delivers an unmatched internet experience through its global Ku-band network, plus a path toward an enhanced online in-flight experience with its Exede® In The Air service. Already available to commercial passengers, the Exede In The Air service leverages ViaSat’s leadership in high-capacity Ka-band satellite technology and will ensure business aviation passengers receive a ‘best available network’ service when roaming across ViaSat’s Ka- and Ku-band satellite network. For more information on ViaSat’s high-speed internet service for business aviation, visit: www.ViaSat.com/general-aviation.
- Launch areas announced for August 18 rollout
Carlsbad, CA | August 12, 2014– Beginning Monday, August 18, ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) will offer Exede® high-speed satellite internet plans that provide households in select locations across the country with virtually unlimited data usage for communications, web browsing, and streaming media. The new “Freedom” plan will be initially offered along portions of the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf Coast; select counties in California, Arizona, and Minnesota; and across most of Alaska, Hawaii, and Florida.
Virtually unlimited satellite internet service (providing at least 150 GBs of monthly data without a strict data allowance) is another notable first for ViaSat, a company with a history of leadership in technology and market innovation. Its Exede Internet consumer service, powered by the world’s highest capacity communications satellite ViaSat-1, was the first high-speed satellite service to reach a significant portion of the U.S., including rural and remote areas that had historically limited internet options. With the recent growth in household data usage, especially for streaming services, ViaSat is again leading the industry in addressing customers’ needs for higher data volumes with its Freedom plan.
“The Freedom plan shows our dedication to continually improving the customer experience and responding to their desire for more data,” said Lisa Scalpone, vice president, Broadband. “With Exede Internet, we’ve shown that we can deliver high speeds at reasonable cost to virtually anyone in the U.S. Now we’re excited to demonstrate that satellite internet can deliver data volumes that are competitive with wireline services. Our Freedom plan will provide a preview of the next leap forward for satellite internet.”
In addition to the Freedom plan, other Exede plans debuting August 18 across a large area of the country will offer double or triple current data allowances. These expanded data allowances are available for Exede Evolution, a plan introduced late last year that offers unlimited e-mail and web page access.
“Within the coverage we have on ViaSat-1, our objective is to put our available bandwidth to work for the benefit of our customers,” said Scalpone.
Mike Jude, program manager for Consumer Communication Services at Frost & Sullivan, said, “Through our research, we’ve found that ViaSat is dedicated to providing improved, state-of-the-art satellite services that don’t have the typical limitations of satellite technology. The data cap has been one of those limitations, so this is a very interesting development to see them take another step ahead in responding to consumers’ growing need for higher volumes of data.”
ViaSat also offers Exede In The Air high-speed in-flight internet for airline passengers on JetBlue and United; Exede Business for added speed and data tailored to business subscribers; and Exede Enterprise communications for live events, field operations and disaster response. In a June 2014 report from the FCC, Exede Internet led 14 other internet services in delivering advertised speed, with peak period upload and download speeds of approximately 140 percent of what is promoted. This is the second consecutive year that Exede Internet’s performance was at the top of the charts in the agency’s annual independent study, “Measuring Broadband America.”
ViaSat has also announced plans for another groundbreaking satellite, ViaSat-2, now in development. Its launch, planned for 2016, is expected to facilitate a significant expansion of Exede services, capacity, speed, and coverage areas.
- First interconnection agreement between High Throughput Satellites will enable Eutelsat and ViaSat customers to roam between North America and Europe
Carlsbad, California and Paris France | July 1, 2014– ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq: VSAT) and Eutelsat (NYSE Euronext Paris: ETL) have entered into a pioneering agreement that will enable service access and roaming on each other’s high-capacity satellite networks (KA-SAT for Eutelsat and ViaSat-1 for ViaSat). Both Ka-band networks share the same high-capacity satellite ecosystem, enabled by the ViaSat Broadband System, along with other ground infrastructure owned and operated by Eutelsat and ViaSat. The resulting high-capacity service area will span North America, Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. Customers will now be able to operate an array of fixed and mobile services including in-flight connectivity, maritime, emergency relief, oil and gas operations, and government applications anywhere within the combined coverage areas, which represents well over half of all Ka-band capacity on orbit worldwide.
The agreement also includes provisions for future satellites and follow-on technologies as they complement current Eutelsat and ViaSat High Throughput Satellites. That future includes ViaSat-2, scheduled for launch in 2016, which is designed to cover a broader footprint in North America, Central America, the Gulf of Mexico, the Carribean, and to bridge the North Atlantic to form a blanket of high-capacity coverage across the region.
“This formalizes another step towards covering the high traffic areas of the world with the fastest, most affordable mobile broadband satellite connectivity,” said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat chairman and CEO. “Extending our long-standing relationship with Eutelsat enables us to provide the fastest in-flight Wi-Fi available on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat chairman and CEO, said: “Working with ViaSat, we can extend to North America the high quality of service we already provide clients in Europe through KA-SAT, and bridge the two satellite systems with the addition of ViaSat-2. We believe this feature will be a real plus for companies providing mobile services and who need to move around user equipment from region to region.”
Eutelsat KA-SAT, the first High Throughput Satellite (HTS) in the European region, supplies more than 90 Gbps of network capacity. Eutelsat provides network services in conjunction with a number of partners under brands including the Tooway™ consumer broadband service and the NewsSpotter video contribution service. The ViaSat network covers the U.S. and Canada with over 145 Gbps of capacity, providing a service network for both consumers and enterprises, including Exede® and Xplornet brand services.
- Certification is for broadband and streaming entertainment system
Melbourne, FL | September 26, 2013–
LiveTV, the leading innovator of inflight entertainment and connectivity solutions, has received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for Boeing 737-900 aircraft from the Federal Aviation Administration to install satellite-based next generation Ka-band inflight airline internet and streaming entertainment systems. LiveTV has the ability to use this certification for all airlines operating 737-900 fleets. This STC comes less than one month after receiving similar FAA STC approval for Airbus A320 installations that will be first used aboard JetBlue Airways aircraft.
“We are leading the industry by bringing the fastest inflight connectivity to our customers,” said Glenn Latta, President of LiveTV. “Our connectivity experience will revolutionize the inflight internet use for flights across North America and Europe.”
“Our Ka-band satellite-based technology pioneered by ViaSat is finding new applications with more airlines,” said ViaSat Chairman and CEO Mark Dankberg. “Working with LiveTV, we believe this next-generation capability will grow in popularity the more travelers use it.” The new ViaSat-1 Ka-band satellite is substantially faster and more economical than traditional Ku and Air-To-Ground technologies.
Carlsbad, CA | September 25, 2013– Exede® In The Air in-flight Internet service from ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) has been selected as a finalist in the Aerospace and Security Technologies category for the 2013 Most Innovative New Product Awards, sponsored by CONNECT. CONNECT, a regional program that catalyzes the creation of innovative technology and life sciences products in San Diego County, continues its twenty-six year tradition of honoring San Diego’s leaders of innovation and groundbreaking new products with the annual award.
“CONNECT is such a force behind innovation in our high-tech community that we’re always honored to be recognized by them as one of the leading innovators in San Diego,” said Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO of ViaSat.
Exede In The Air is an in-flight connectivity and entertainment system for commercial airliners that is designed to eclipse the quality and speeds of today’s in-cabin airline broadband. While other services are managing customer expectations and limiting usage to maintain service quality, the ViaSat service offers the performance and economics to encourage every passenger to go online with 12 Mbps service to every seat. JetBlue and United Airlines are planning to begin offering the service by the end of 2013.
The CONNECT Most Innovative New Product Awards ceremony, to be held at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines on Dec. 6, will honor product innovation in the following categories: Aerospace & Security Technologies, Communications & IT, Hardware & General Technology, Life Sciences – Diagnostics & Research Tools, Life Sciences – Medical Products, Mobile Apps, Software, Sport & Active Lifestyle Technologies and Sustainability.
“This year’s finalists are among the strongest we’ve seen,” said Tyler Orion, interim president, CONNECT. “In the 26 years we’ve produced the MIP Awards, we’ve seen San Diego County continue to produce impressive technology innovation across a broad range of industries, and selecting winners from among this year’s group of finalists will be an exciting challenge.”
The 2013 Most Innovative New Product Awards receive generous support from lead sponsors Life Technologies and Qualcomm, as well as supporting sponsors including AmericanWest Bank, Barney & Barney, Cox, Cymer, D&K Engineering, Hughes Marino, Kaiser Permanente, Knobbe Martens, Merck and PricewaterhouseCoopers
Carlsbad, CA | July 30, 2013– The FCC has granted a Blanket License Radio Station Authorization for Ka-band aeronautical earth stations to ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq:VSAT), providing regulatory approval for airborne Ka-band services over all 50 U.S. states. The 15-year, renewable license permits operation of the ViaSat Mantarray, low-profile airborne antenna on the ViaSat Ka-band satellite fleet of ViaSat-1, WildBlue-1, and Anik-F2.
ViaSat Exede® In The Air is designed to improve in-flight broadband service by providing enough bandwidth for every passenger on the plane to enjoy high-speed Internet. The FCC approval is another step toward the launch of that service, expected this fall, on the U.S. fleets of JetBlue Airways and one other major airline. Approximately 400 aircraft are already under contract to receive the service.
“This is the first license of its kind in the world,” said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat chairman and CEO. “We’re gratified to see the FCC recognizing that the advanced technical design of this equipment is compatible with the operating environment in which our other Exede services successfully operate. Now airlines, and their passengers, will have access to an unprecedented amount of bandwidth. We want to let everyone on board be connected at high speed.”
ViaSat also initiated work with the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) two years ago that led to a related Electronic Communication Committee decision in March, allowing mobile earth station operation — including in the Ka-band — in participating countries in Europe.
Powered by ViaSat-1 — the World’s Highest Capacity Communications Satellite with a Guinness World Records title — Exede service is poised to re-shape communication services in a number of industries.
Gogo Ground to Air – 800 MHz
This week’s Hot Topic is about connectivity and the coming changes that we see on the horizon. The idea came in the form of a recent SEC filing by the folks at Gogo and their recent public stock offering but with so much talk on the streets about the desirability of inflight Wi-Fi, the price of same, and the resultant competition building from ground-based and satellite competition, we thought readers might like a lot of the available data in one place… here.
On June 21, 2013 the initial public share offering of Wi-Fi and media services by Gogo hit a snag as their shares dropped some 9% on the NASDAQ Global Select Market offering. From the data available, UBS, Morgan Stanley, and J.P. Morgan priced the 13% offering of the company at $15 – $17 range pegging the company value at $1.5 Billion which was noted in an article in Reuters. While the market was in a bit of turmoil at the time of the offering the real concern of many involved in the stock was the fact that Gogo lost money. As Reuters quoted Francis Gask , “If they can’t make money with an 81 percent market share then, with increasing competition, when can they make money?” Good question, and as we all know, today Gogo has installed some 1500 systems or so (of over 5000 announced orders) and enjoys a market share over 80%. What is going to happen when Panasonic gets on board, or a Thales, or a ViaSat with satellite-based, connectivity hardware?
As a bit of background, it might be useful to take a look at the underlying technology that drives the ground-to-air solution embodied by Gogo. Usage tests by journalists peg the data speeds at 500 Kbps (roughly 95% of US terrestrial Internet is higher) and Walt Mossberg was quoted in a story thusly; “The service operates at respectable, if not blazing, speeds — similar to what you’d get on a cellular broadband service or a slow home DSL line. On my test flight, download speeds varied from 266 kilobits per second to about 1.4 megabits per second, with the most typical speeds hovering between 500 and 600 kbps. Upload speeds were between 250 and 300 kbps. I found that most of the tasks I tested, except for streaming video, felt smooth and normal.” Increases over these data rates will be the design goal of any next generation connectivity systems to reduce costs and increase data rates – all being driven by the availability and prices of demand on the ground. Lest we forget, Gogo has been developing a Ku-band Satcom-based (12 – 18 GHz) solution and now has approval for up to 1000 Ku band equipped aircraft, ostensibly for over water applications.
ViaSat Satellite Ka-band – 22 GHz
And speaking of Ka-band, today, ViaSat announced an agreement with Boeing Commercial Airplanes to work together towards offering ViaSat Ka-band airborne satellite terminals as a factory line-fit option on Boeing commercial aircraft. They note, “Factory installation avoids costly down-time involved with taking planes out of service for post-production retrofits. Airlines will be able to specify ViaSat in-flight connectivity on new Boeing aircraft and take delivery of the planes with the equipment already installed. Factory installations will allow airlines the ability to access Exede In The Air, ViaSat’s high-speed in-flight internet service.” Here is a good starting point interview with ViaSat’s CEO, Mark Dankberg.
It is important to note that Ka-band technology for transmitting to aircraft occurs at frequencies some 27 times that of the 800 MHz solution (ground-based) and since bandwidth is roughly proportional to that multiple (it’s probably greater, but who’s counting), those frequencies offer great benefit and the potential for data price reductions. From the absurd analysis, your satcom flight connectivity per flight should now cost 44 cents at Ka-band instead of ground-based $12 at 800 MHz !
Next Generation, Ground to Air, Ku-band – 14 GHz
Finally, we should note that recent proposed, FCC Next Generation Connectivity solution was not lost on other competitors – companies like Qualcomm who have plenty of money and know the RF world too well. Their solution (unlike air-to-ground ViaSat) involves the 14 – 14.5 GHz band looks to the Gogo model from a ground-to-air perspective. About here, you might want to read the Gogo comments to a recent FCC Next-Generation Air-Ground Communications Service On A Secondary Licensed Basis to the 14.0 to 14.5 GHz Band.
Stay Tuned, things are-a-changing!
– Collaboration aimed at increasing service level quality to every online passenger
Carlsbad, CA | June 11, 2013–JetBlue Airways has upgraded its agreement with ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) as the airline moves forward on its mission to offer a superior in-flight broadband experience. JetBlue is more than doubling its contract commitment to $20 million for the service, called Fly-Fi powered by Exede® Internet, while ViaSat will bill for bandwidth charges based on the service take rate for each flight.
“A good way to characterize this amendment is that we’re both putting a little more skin in the game because of our confidence that providing a really good service is going to increase the number of passengers who use it,” said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat CEO and chairman. “This is a great show of JetBlue’s faith in us as we complete ground testing with LiveTV and move ahead to the first flights.”
The Exede In The Air in-flight service for commercial aircraft is designed to eclipse the service quality and speeds of other in-cabin airline broadband services. The major differentiator for Exede services is an innovative Ka-band satellite system, featuring ViaSat-1, the world’s highest capacity communications satellite. The more favorable economics of the ViaSat system enable airlines to specify a high-speed service level to each passenger, rather than simply an aggregate amount of bandwidth to the plane that leaves passengers competing for limited resources. The system is capable of delivering 12 Mbps or more to each connected passenger.
ViaSat is already under contract to install its in-flight system, working together with partner LiveTV, onto a total of 370 aircraft, including JetBlue and one other U.S. carrier. Installations are expected to begin later this year with all aircraft scheduled to be online by the end of calendar 2015.
– Boeing-built ViaSat-2 will support fast-growing Exede Internet services with unparalleled combination of capacity, service, coverage and flexibility
Carlsbad, CA | May 16, 2013– ViaSat (NASDAQ: VSAT) has executed a contract with Boeing (NYSE: BA) to build ViaSat-2, which is based on ViaSat’s next generation, Ka-band satellite technology and architecture. ViaSat-2 is expected to be, by far, the world’s highest capacity satellite at the time of launch (scheduled for mid-2016) achieving an unparalleled mix of capacity and coverage. ViaSat-2 is anticipated to approximately double the bandwidth economics of ViaSat-1 while simultaneously increasing its coverage footprint by seven-fold.
ViaSat-2 Expected to Set New Benchmark for High-Speed Broadband by Satellite
Building on the market success of the ViaSat-1 based Exede® Internet service, which has received multiple awards in recognition of its innovation and service performance, ViaSat-2 is expected to significantly improve the speed and availability of broadband services over a greatly expanded coverage area that includes North America, Central America, the Caribbean, a small portion of northern South America as well as the primary aeronautical and maritime routes across the Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe.
Today’s announcement marks the first major advancement of satellite broadband technology since the initial development of ViaSat-1, which recently earned a Guinness World Records® title as the highest-capacity communications satellite in the world. The ViaSat-2 system will include significant enhancements to ViaSat SurfBeam® networking technology and is designed to multiply the speeds offered to a level commensurate with high-speed fiber-to-the-node networks (FTTN).
“The market success of ViaSat-1 class satellites has highlighted the magnitude of the opportunity for truly competitive satellite services,” said Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO of ViaSat. “It’s clear that superior bandwidth economics in space create competitive advantages on the ground, in the air, and at sea, compared to other satellite and terrestrial alternatives. ViaSat-2 represents a significant breakthrough in broadband satellite technology – for the very first time combining extremely high bandwidth capacity with very large coverage areas. ViaSat-2 will make it possible to offer superior in-flight connectivity on applications ranging from JetBlue leisure flights to the Caribbean to U.S. government aircraft traveling to Europe or Latin America, to critical national and Homeland Security missions. ViaSat-2 will also combine unprecedented capacity and coverage with operational flexibility – solving historically intractable issues in geographical distribution of bandwidth demand, capital investments, and system performance. We believe ViaSat-2 is more than just state-of-the-art technology, it’s a great investment.”
ViaSat and Boeing Execute Strategic Agreement
ViaSat-2 represents a cooperative effort with Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems. The new satellite will be based on the Boeing 702HP satellite bus and draws on Boeing’s four decades of experience gained from the production of more than 175 commercial communications satellites and its extensive expertise in Ka-band satellite communication systems. Along with the execution of the ViaSat-2 satellite contract, ViaSat and Boeing have entered into a strategic agreement to jointly market and sell satellites systems based on ViaSat-2 technology.
“The Boeing 702HP is our most powerful satellite platform,” said Craig Cooning, chief executive officer of Boeing Satellite Systems International and vice president and general manager of Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems. “This proven capability, integrated with ViaSat’s own satellite technology, will result in what we expect to be the world’s highest-capacity satellite, and will prove to be a major contributor to the expansion of ViaSat’s complete portfolio of broadband services. We are committed to delivering this satellite on-schedule and with the highest level of mission assurance.”
ViaSat Inc. or its affiliates will be the owner and/or operator of the ViaSat-2 satellite.
Carlsbad, CA | May 6, 2013– ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) has named Ken Peterman as General Manager of its Government Systems segment. Before joining ViaSat, Mr. Peterman was president and CEO of SpyGlass Group, a provider of executive strategic advisory services to the defense, aerospace, and associated communities.
Mr. Peterman has over 30 years of experience in systems engineering, strategic planning, portfolio management, and business leadership in the defense and aerospace market. Prior to founding the SpyGlass Group in July 2012, he was president of ITT Communications and Force Protection Systems where his tenure began in 2007 and included the spin-off of the defense business out of ITT Corporation into Exelis in 2011. Before joining ITT, Mr. Peterman was vice president and general manager of Rockwell Collins Government System’s Integrated C3 Systems business and, prior to that Rockwell Collins Displays and Awareness Systems business. He earned a B.S.E.E. degree from Tri-State University (now Trine).
Mr. Peterman joins a Government Systems segment that is gaining momentum, with nearly $100 million in year-over-year revenue growth for the first three quarters of fiscal year 2013. Sustained demand for bandwidth and higher-speed services and systems from the U.S. Department of Defense, public safety first-responders, security forces, and remote government employees continues to drive growth in the division.
To address the need for executive leadership in another growing business area, Steve Estes, general manager of Government Systems prior to this appointment, has been named to lead the emerging Enterprise Services business at ViaSat. Mr. Estes’ expertise in strategy, planning, and organizing for effective execution will be applied to this business area, which includes satellite newsgathering, commercial air, live events, and emergency responder communications.
“This is a great opportunity to increase the depth of our team with an accomplished leader in the defense industry,” said Rick Baldridge, president and COO of ViaSat. “Ken brings a wealth of successful experience in the government communication systems area and is a great fit culturally. Steve Estes has been doing a great job running the government business and will attack his new position with the same level of focus.”
– 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.
– Pax River flight test shows sustained 8 Mbps performance during rigorous maneuvers
Carlsbad, CA | March 5, 2013– ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq: VSAT) has demonstrated a high-performance Ka-band satellite communication system that delivers beyond line-of-sight broadband for rotary wing aircraft. This advanced system provided sustained data rates of 4 Mbps from the helicopter to a ground station and 8 Mbps to the helicopter despite very high shock and vibration and the inherent repetitive signal blockage from rotating blades. While previous “through the blade” demonstrations have proved the underlying patented and patent-pending technology, this flight test at Patuxent River, Maryland used a Sikorsky H-3 helicopter.
Flight conditions encompassed rigorous maneuvers, including severe banking and operation through several rotor orientations while running data-intensive applications. During multiple tests, operators were able to simultaneously run five VoIP calls, three VTCs from air to ground, and streaming videos from the Internet to the aircraft. All applications ran without packet loss or video dropout.
This new system builds on proven ViaSat mobile Ku and Ka technologies using a modified waveform optimized for efficient through-the-blade broadband communications. The system can be used on manned and unmanned rotary wing platforms and provides communications regardless of the number of blades, blade size, number of rotors, or their orientation on the airframe.
“We are enabling new operational concepts for military and civil helicopter missions,” said Paul Baca, VP and general manager of ViaSat Global Mobile Broadband. “Rotary wing customers can experience broadband that overcomes the challenges of vibration, shock, and signal interference associated with satellite communication for helicopters.”
A patent-pending shock and vibration isolation system enables the antenna to maintain lock with the satellite on the ground and in-flight.
The antenna used in the flight test was the new ViaSat VR-12 Ka antenna, which is a form and fit alternative to the VR-12 Ku-band antenna. The VR-12 Ku has achieved milestones of 500 deliveries and over 500,000 mission hours.
For more information, go to www.viasat.com/broadband-satellite-networks/mobile-broadband.
– Government and general aviation business growth drives demand for increased bandwidth and new services
Carlsbad, CA | January 28, 2013– ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq: VSAT) has signed four new contracts that increase the total Ku-band capacity of its global mobility network by more than 60 percent. This investment in additional bandwidth will be reserved for government and general aviation business growth and customer requirements for high data rates for mobile satellite communications.
“This expansion phase is an overlay to our mobile network in key regions around the globe,” said Paul Baca, GM/VP ViaSat Global Mobile Broadband. “This addition will raise the bar for baseline broadband performance and provide a foundation for new service plans.”
The sustained growth in airborne satellite communications for ViaSat was recently highlighted by the delivery of the 500th VR-12 satellite terminal. This ultra-small aperture system has been a key technology enabler for both general aviation and government mobility markets, for “office in the sky” business applications, as well as enroute Command & Control and ISR services for military customers.
Details regarding regional coverage and availability will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information, go to www.viasat.com/broadband-satellite-networks/mobile-broadband.
Carlsbad, CA | December 6, 2012– ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq: VSAT) has successfully implemented an Integrated Waveform Network Control Station (IW NCS) for the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense (MOD). The IW is designed to allow the UK MOD to make the most efficient use of its UHF satcom assets with seamless voice and data assignments across 5 and 25 kHz UHF channels. Additional benefits include significantly improved voice quality and interoperability with U.S. military forces in theater.
The turnkey Initial Operational Capability (IOC) installation includes ViaSat RT-18xx based terminal hardware together with UHF satcom antennas from Spirit River PTY LTD.
The successful installation and testing of the IOC is a major milestone toward providing the UK MOD with advanced UHF satcom networking. The next phase, Final Operational Capability (FOC), will enable the UK MOD to plan and control two IW master channels simultaneously and include built-in failover redundancy.
– First annual Satellite Markets and Research Vision Awards
Carlsbad, CA | November 15, 2012– Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO of ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq: VSAT), has been named Visionary Executive of the Year at the first annual Satellite Markets and Research Vision Awards in New York City. The award goes to the outstanding senior executive of a satellite company who demonstrated a keen sense of mission for his company and a forward-looking vision of where his company and the industry is heading.
Satellitemarkets.com and Satellite Markets and Research provide subscribers with news analysis, industry forecasts, and market intelligence covering the key trends on the global satellite communications market. The Vision Awards ceremony took place last night at SATCON 2012. Application Technology Strategy LLC co-sponsored the first Vision Awards.
“I’m delighted to accept this award and I thank Satellite Markets and Research and the distinguished panel of judges,” said Mr. Dankberg. “I looked up visionary in the dictionary. As an adjective the dictionary uses words like unreal, impractical, and imaginary, and as a noun it says someone with keen foresight. If that second description is what is intended here, then I truly am honored by this award.
“And the difference between those two definitions is a team of people who can bring that unreal vision to life. That’s what this is about. ViaSat has 2500 incredibly talented people and without them, I would not be here.”
“Our readers selected Mr. Dankberg to receive this award due to his visionary leadership of ViaSat, from a -three-person startup in a spare bedroom in his home 26 years ago to a billion dollar, vertically-integrated company that’s a leader in several key market segments in the satellite industry,” said Virgil Labrador, editor-in-chief of Satellite Markets & Research and chairman of the Awards Board of Judges. “We congratulate Mark and ViaSat on this success.”
There is a lot of talk in the In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) market about onboard Internet and the satellites used to deliver the bandwidth, especially about the relative merit of Ka band (26.5 – 40 GHz) vs Ku band (12 – 18 GHz) onboard an aircraft. IFExpress plans a number articles in the future on this topic. The bottom line is that high-quality in-flight Internet means a lot of bandwidth for a lot of users, at an affordable price. In the long run, airlines will probably look for an in-flight connectivity system that delivers the most Mbps of useable bandwidth keeping in mind their investment and operating costs. To that end, this Speakers’ Corner Hot Topic on that very subject is penned by ViaSat’s Chairman & CEO Mark Dankberg. Read on:
What’s The “Best” In-Flight Connectivity System?
You’re a consumer too. What do you want?
By Mark Dankberg, ViaSat Chairman & CEO
Are we all in agreement that every one of us wants more bandwidth? And that tomorrow we’ll want more than that?
Netflix is one illustration of our bandwidth addiction. The service just surpassed 1 billion hours of streaming video for the first time this past quarter. Another 3 million customers signed up. Streaming has gone from an unknown to a must-have in just a few short years.
The more bandwidth we get, the more interesting and entertaining things we find to do with it. A year or two from now, who knows what fun new online apps we’ll be using on our smartphones, tablets, and ultrabooks. (Or the next yet to be introduced bandwidth-gulping device.) What is certain? Just like your pay check, as soon as you get a little increase, you want a little more.
Seeing Is Believing
We’ve never seen a customer say that they prefer slower speeds, limited bandwidth, and higher session prices after they’ve seen higher speeds, lots of bandwidth, and competitive prices. That goes for airline passengers as well. That means airlines need to look for an in-flight connectivity (IFC) system that delivers the most megabits per second of useable bandwidth, while driving down upfront investments and operating costs.
So it’s up to us – the in-flight connectivity vendors – to take a step back and think more broadly about what customers want. And about what customers may not even know they want. Then we need to ensure that carriers have the right system to best accommodate the future of the Internet, which is always coming faster than we think.
The Highest Inventory of Low-Cost Bits
Access to a lot of spectrum is the starting point to achieve this mission. The system also has to be engineered to best deliver the “unicast” flow of data that is required by the Internet. Systems built for one-to-many broadcast over wide areas can’t give each of us the individual browsing experience or high-volume, one-to-one data downloads that we want. That combination spells out a need for a different, purpose-built network to maximize bandwidth.
Also, there seems to be a lot of confusion in the industry about what the right metrics are to evaluate IFC alternatives. We think it is pretty clear that capital cost of useable capacity is the key metric. That is the total Gbps of useable bandwidth divided by the capital cost to deploy and use that capacity. It’s hard to get high performance and good economics if your cost of bandwidth is too high.
Willingness of Customers to Pay
Even though we all want more access to more bandwidth wherever we go, we don’t want to pay for it, do we? Think about the last time your hotel tried to charge you for Internet access during your stay? Where has Starbucks ended up with its in-store wireless access? It’s free – built into the cost of doing business.
Just another reason to make sure your IFC system offers the lowest cost of bandwidth possible. If you wanted to – or if your customers expected it – could your system give you the economics to give it away like peanuts and a coke? The trend says that’s what customers are going to expect.
How Do You Identify The Right IFC Service
In the information technology world, the economics of processor speed, storage, and transmission speed are constantly improving. There still is some value in lower performance, but users tend to migrate quickly to the best performing alternatives.
While the discussion of frequency bands is not the place to begin the discussion of in-flight alternatives, it is vital to looking ahead to the technology that matches market expectations.
It’s certainly true that you can design new Ku-band satellites, or even C-band satellites, that have better bandwidth economics than existing Ku- or C-band FSS satellites designed for broadcast. But it’s going to be hard to offer more value with a 10 or 20 Gbps satellite compared to a 100 or 200 Gbps satellite, when they both cover the same geographic area.
Looking at consumer trends, it would seem that users will choose services from an IFC system that yields high performance with good air time prices.
Why Ka-band is The Future
The most radio spectrum available right now is at Ka-band. The characteristics of Ka-band give it 50 to 100 times the capacity for data compared to standard Ku-band broadcast satellites. Average costs for air time for Ka are about one-eighth the cost of Ku.
There is also a lot of good ground and space technology already available. It’s important to note that Ka-band is serving over 1 million households in the U.S. right now. Eutelsat has successfully launched similar residential services in Europe. DirecTV uses Ka spot beam satellites for direct-to-home video entertainment. Ka-band equipment for commercial airliners will take advantage of many of the elements of consumer broadband systems. So the notion that Ka-band technology is years away is not correct.
That said, just choosing Ka-band is not the answer. Not all Ka-band is high-capacity, and high-capacity is the only way to optimize the key metric of capital cost of useable capacity. It is kind of silly to say that a 2 or 3 Gbps satellite is a “High Throughput Satellite” if the cost per unit of bandwidth is much higher than a 100+ Gbps satellite, and if capacity constraints lead to congestion and slowed service as more passengers access the network.
An Integrated System
Producing the best air time service economics and performance takes an integrated space/ground system. The ground segment must be customized to optimize the space segment. With high capacity satellites, it is not a good choice to limit the number of teleports (gateways), or to design the network in such a way that the teleports have to be in a certain place. Teleport operators or Ku-band satellite owners might like to start from there, but it’s not going to optimize the user experience.
Global high-capacity Ka-band won’t happen overnight. No one has a plan for global high-capacity coverage, but it likely will take five years to build. In the meantime, many areas already have capacity or plans in place to launch Ka-band services within the next three years:
• North America
• South America
• Europe and the Mediterranean basin
• Middle East
ViaSat for one, already has near-global Ku-band coverage, with hundreds of aircraft, both business and military, accessing this network daily. As high-capacity Ka-band bandwidth comes online, a hybrid Ku/Ka network can evolve, much as 3G and 4G network coverage is rolling out for mobile phones. Ku-band over the oceans can become part of this interim network. Hybrid antennas and other equipment are well into development, with the government being the primary driver.
The Big Picture
As the service provider of the most extensive and highest-speed Ku-band global mobile network – when you consider military, bizjet, and maritime traffic – you might think we would push Ku-band. That would be a disservice to customers and ignore our bandwidth desires. The goal is to deliver the most Mbps of useable bandwidth while driving down upfront investments and operating costs. That’s what we want when we flip on our laptop or tablet. Consumer trends and preferences are not standing still. Don’t let your IFC technology choice leave you behind.
For more information on the ViaSat Solution, contact Robin Salem email@example.com
Bonn/Hamburg, 31 March 2009 – T-Mobile presents its inflight communication solution at Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. Together with its partners, VT Miltope and ViaSat, T-Mobile shows the latest inflight broadband and GSM telephony solution for all major passenger aircraft.
With this solution, connectivity for the traveller can be expanded: With connectivity on the road, on the train or at the airport and now also in the sky the traveller enjoys seamless mobility. Through WiFi Hotspot in aircraft, passengers will have the possibility of broadband access via their own laptop or smartphone during their flight. Complemented by a GSM telephony solution, passengers can use their mobile phones to receive and send both text messages and emails, or do voice calls in exactly the same way as on the ground. Business travellers can stay in touch with their business partners, leisure travellers will be able to receive information on their travel destination and families stay connected with their loved ones. The inflight broadband solution presented in Hamburg with on-board portals can provide airlines with a competitive advantage and allow them to excel in customer services. Through the WiFi portal, passengers will be able to check real-time information quickly for connection flights, browse for onboard shopping products, or utilize loyalty programme incentives.
The combined effort of T-Mobile and its partners result in a unique offering for all airlines: An integrated, future proof connectivity solution that caters to all passenger connectivity and communication needs under one brand. T-Mobile contributes the expertise of a mass market mobile operator and the knowledge of how to design user friendly communication services. This will help ensure that the needs of the end-customer will be satisfied. T-Mobile’s sophisticated billing system will allow airlines to implement various payment methods. Interface with the airlines’ loyalty programs will also be possible. With these capabilities T-Mobile is able to accommodate the increasing demand by airlines for a worry-free end-to-end in-flight connectivity solution.
T-Mobile’s initiative is driven by a clear vision of tomorrow’s inflight entertainment situation. Passengers are expecting universal connectivity for all their phones and devices, bandwidth like at home and an intuitive user experience. Instead of offline in-seat devices, customers want to use the services and information they are used to for making flights as entertaining and efficient as possible.