Low-cost Spanish airline Vueling has launched its first aircraft with high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity from Telefónica using satellite broadband technology.
Wi-Fi on the Airbus A320 is delivered via Eutelsat’s KA-SAT High Throughput Satellite (HTS), which Telefónica said provided bandwidth performance approximately 70 times greater than conventional satellites.
This is achievable due to HTS’ reliance on spot beam technology, which delivers power via multiple, narrowly-focused beams and allows frequency to be reused similarly to a mobile network.
Telefónica said the result was that passengers could experience a broadband experience similar to ground-based ADSL, accessing download speeds of up to 20Mbps.
Vueling will be the first low-cost European airline to offer high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi to passengers, following a partnership with Telefónica first announced last April.
The battle to bring connectivity to the skies has resulted in a number of partnerships between telcos and airlines in recent months.
Last November, for example, Inmarsat revealed it was building a new network with Alcatel-Lucent incorporating S-band satellite technology to bring mobile connectivity to European airlines.
In September, Gogo partnered with Virgin Atlantic to offer customers in-flight Wi-Fi using 2Ku satellite-based technology.