Gogo partners with Virgin America to offer 60Mbps in-flight Wi-Fi

By on September 12, 2013, 7:30 AM

In-flight wireless provider Gogo recently announced a partnership with Virgin America to deliver speedy Internet service at 35,000 feet. The company claims it will be able to offer airline passengers speeds of more than 60Mbps which is faster than most people’s home broadband connection and roughly 20 times faster than what Gogo originally offered just a few years ago.

In a statement on the matter, Gogo’s president and CEO Michael Small recalled offering speeds of just 3.1Mbps per aircraft when they launched. Roughly a year ago, they began rapidly deploying their next generation service that took speeds up to 9.8Mbps.

The new service, known as Ground to Orbit (GTO), will use the company’s existing ground-based transceivers for uploading and satellites for the downlink. The receive only antenna is said to feature a low profile that will result in much less drag and therefore reduced fuel burn on the aircraft. This ultimately translates to greater operational efficiencies for airlines.

David Cush, president and CEO of Virgin America, said GTO will be another leap forward in terms of speed and performance of in-flight Wi-Fi for their guests.

Gogo is planning to get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration before installation although they feel it isn’t required since the antenna only receives data. Virgin America expects to launch the new service sometime in the second half of 2014. No word yet on whether or not any other airlines have signed on to offer GTO.

User Comments: 3

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GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

That's..........pretty damn good. God with that, you could game on a flight (so long as there are plugs lol). I really want to fly Virgin Air next time I fly.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Pretty cool, but what's the fee? I really doubt wi-fi will be free on an airplane when it's often not free at the airport. How ironic would that be? People sitting near the windows at the airport so they could leech off the plane's free wifi because the airport was charging for it.

I expect a per kb charge that would end up costing around $10 to watch a 2 hr netflix movie. And that would be a great price... far cheaper than wireless roaming prices.

psycros psycros said:

I've been advocating exactly this kind of system as a possible rural broadband solution for ages. Its ideal since a dish works anywhere and the upload antennas could use either LTE or something with even higher power - which translates to practical, cost-effective coverage. The latency would be good enough for casual gaming and possibly even competitive MMOs (but probably not hard-core action games).

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