Domestic US flights will soon have faster Internet connections than most homes in Australia, when inflight tech provider Gogo flicks the switch on its new broadband satellite service.
Virgin Australia partner Delta will roll out Gogo's advanced '2Ku' hardware across some 250 aircraft from early 2016, with 70Mbps and eventually 100Mbps of bandwidth available to each jet.
That fat pipeline will be shared between passengers, however, bringing per-seat speed back to perhaps 5Mbps depending on how many people are logged on.
Pricing is expected to be pitched above the rates currently charged for Gogo's slower air-to-ground network which begins at US$5 per hour, with US$16 for an entire flight or US$50 for a one-month pass.
Gogo 2Ku works with high-speed Ku band satellites – such as Inmarsat's growing GlobalXpress constellation, and potentially Australia's own NBN SkyMuster birds – but with two dome-encased antenna per aircraft: one dedicated for downloading, the other for uploading.
Trials conducted last week saw 6-8Mbps on the downlink, although upload speeds remained pegged below 0.5Mbps.
That's definitely sufficient to eclipse basis web browsing, emails and the obligatory social media selfie at 40,000 feet, and move into the realm of smooth streaming content from the likes of Netflix and Spotify.
"People will be relentless for more bandwidth" admits Gogo CEO Michael Small.
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