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

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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.

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