New satellites mean superfast inflight wifi Internet speeds

By John Walton, July 24 2012
New satellites mean superfast inflight wifi Internet speeds

A new series of satellites launching in 2015 will boost inflight Internet speeds to up to 80Mbps per plane -- a lightning fast speed that many Australian offices and homes would envy.

Current inflight Internet is either reasonably swift and ground-based (in the US) or fairly glacial and satellite-based (elsewhere), 

The big speed boost is all thanks to a new Intelsat satellite platform called Epic, which is outlined in detail by inflight internet watcher Mary Kirby of APEX.

High-traffic routes will benefit the most, since the new satellites can use spot-beam technology to aim their transmitters and receivers to where the demand is greatest.

Initially, that's likely to be across the North Atlantic, on the busy US-Europe routes.

But when the second Epic satellite goes up in early 2016, wider coverage will be available. Expect the faster Internet to roll out to the north and west of Singapore at that stage.

Given the geographical boundaries of much of Australia's red centre, it's unlikely that truly fast satellite inflight internet will be seen soon on, say, the shorter Australasian leg of the Kangaroo Route to Europe or on the early part of Asia-bound flights.

Still, the chance to have a tactical sleep between Australia and an Asian hub, and then to work during the onward flight to Europe, will be a real boon to business travellers.

In the meantime, many airlines flying from and around Australia are also getting in on inflight Internet. Check out the current situation and future prospects for inflight Internet on:

For more on inflight Internet and all the other business travel news you need, follow @AusBT on Twitter!

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

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