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article imageGiant satellite to boost WiFi access in aircraft

By Tim Sandle     Jun 3, 2017 in Technology
ViaSat-2:, the satellite goliath has entered into orbit around Earth. It is the powerful commercial broadband satellite ever built and promises to deliver improved WiFi access for those on-board aircraft in-flight.
The ViaSat-2 blasted off on June 2, 2017, from Kourou spaceport in French Guiana, via the European Ariane rocket. Entering orbit, the gigantic satellite will be be stationed above the Americas. Also on-board the rocket was Eutelsat 172B, a U.K. and French-built platform. which will go over the Pacific.
ViaSat-2 is a commercial communications satellite and it is the world's highest capacity communications satellite, although it will not begin commercial operation until early 2018. The satellite boasts a throughput of 300 Gbit/s. Named with the suffix "2", the satellite is the second Ka-band satellite launched by ViaSat. The satellite is set to provide satellite Internet through the Exede Internet service to North America, parts of South America, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic Ocean.
READ MORE: The connected tube: WiFi comes to London's trains
ViaSat-2 will also support the rampant market for WiFi on aeroplanes. Many Airlines are keen to equip their fleets with connections to allow passengers to use their mobile devices in mid-air. Those aircraft offering the service first, and reliably, will be at a commercial advantage.
Speaking with the BBC, ViaSat Chief Operating Officer Rick Baldridge said: "We think people want to use their devices in the air the way they do on the ground; that's the bet we've made."
He adds: "We see spontaneous demand from airlines and it's booming. It's true the technology hasn't always delivered, but you will see with the introduction of very high throughput satellites in the next few years that we will be able to… bring a massive quantity of bandwidth onboard the plane, meaning you can stream Netflix in HD. That's a game-changer."
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