|Customers Using SmartSky 4G LTE Network. Photo: SmartSky Networks
[Avionics Today 10-08-2014] SmartSky Networks has announced it will launch the United States’ first airborne 4G LTE-based network, SmartSky 4G, for both commercial airlines and business aviation in 2016. According to the company, the technology will provide more than 10 times the typical speed and capacity of networks currently in the market by using 60 MHz of spectrum for its Air-To-Ground (ATG) data communications.
An exclusive beta-customer trial will launch in the continental U.S. in late 2015, with the rollout of nationwide commercial service following in 2016. Because the system hardware design can work at multiple frequencies, SmartSky expects to expand internationally the network in the future and provide coverage in locations where different frequency bands might be required.
SmartSky will officially unveil the ATG communications program at the 2014 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention later this month. The company will partner with airframe manufacturers, maintenance companies and equipment and service providers to distribute SmartSky 4G to the business aviation community and will reveal these launch partners at the conference. Similarly, the company has stated it will approach the airline market through established distribution channels, including incumbent connectivity providers.