Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Air Canada Adopts U.S. AirCell's In Flight Internet Service

Will airline passengers want a Prodigy, or true broadband for in-flight Internet?

From The Canadian Press: Air Canada will be offering some passengers the chance to surf the Internet, check e-mail and watch videos on their laptops or personal electronics devices on a limited basis on flights to the U.S. West Coast, starting next spring.

The Internet service is being provided to Air Canada under an agreement with U.S.-based Aircell, which also counts American and Delta airlines among its customers.Aircell's Gogo service provides broadband Internet service to aircraft from a network of cell towers based on the ground in the United States. As a result, flights over Canada won't be able to use Gogo until the network is expanded.

My take on AirCell's growth and the aviation broadband space in general.

As users start using AirCell’s service and the company has to share their limited bandwidth across several planes at once, we suspect that the connection will start to feel like old-fashioned “dialup,” and consumers will quickly voice their disappointment. Their solution can't scale.

Another aviation broadband service is just starting to get headlines.

Voyant Aviation Broadband can provide up to 35 Mbps to EACH aircraft in a full fleet. This compares to AirCell's 2 Mbps

Voyant offers 10 times the capacity of other terrestrial-based solutions at a similar cost. It’s also about 10 – 100 times cheaper on a per-bit basis than satellite-based systems.

Voyant has a partnership with Harris, and Harris is the largest supplier of communications equipment to the FAA. Harris’s software-defined radio works well with Voyant’s super-advanced modem technology.

Voyant promises biggest bandwidth yet.

We aim to deliver 10-35Mbit/sec to every aircraft in the fleet, at a cost per bit at least ten times less than that of a satellite-based system,” Steffen Koehler, chief marketing officer of Voyant Aviation Broadband

The company has begun to generate evidence to back up its claims.

It says that in flight tests during July its pilot-production software-defined radio and production-standard modem supported data rates of up to 50Mbit/sec over a range of 100 miles between the aircraft and a ground station in Florida

Voyant's Aviation Broadband service...cleared for takeoff.

aviation broadband

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