Inmarsat, Deutsche Telekom Test In-Flight Broadband Network

By Kendall Russell | October 26, 2017
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Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom have successfully completed the first flight trials of satellite and complementary ground network for their European Aviation Network (EAN) service, Inmarsat said. EAN is a dedicated aviation solution to combine space- and ground-based components to deliver high-speed in-flight broadband to airlines. According to Inmarsat, the recent flights demonstrated that EAN meets its design performance in practice, a significant milestone for the project consortium as well as European airlines and their passengers.

The evaluation was conducted by Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom with partners Cobham, Thales and Nokia. The team used a Cessna 550 Citation 2 provided by the Netherlands Aerospace Center. The aircraft was flown across Germany, Belgium, France and Spain, covering approximately 5,000 km of European airspace to test integration of the Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) and Complementary Ground Component (CGC) terminals. Further flight trials are scheduled over the coming weeks.

“These flight trials, together with the recent news that Ofcom in the U.K. is the latest European regulator to authorize the ground-based stations as part of the EAN, moves the project a step closer to commencing commercial service with our launch customer, which we expect to take place in the first half of 2018,” said Inmarsat Aviation President Philip Balaam. “This will be a game-changer for the airline market, offering passengers a new gold standard in resilient and scalable in-flight broadband, with unmatched high capacity, and low-latency performance.”

Inmarsat’s EAN satellite, EANsat, which completed its in-orbit tests last month after its Arianespace launch, works with a complementary network of around 300 LTE-based ground stations operated by Deutsche Telekom, using an Advanced Integrated Services Manager (AISM) platform. International Airlines Group (IAG), which includes airline brands such as British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, is the launch customer for the new service.

This article was originally reported by Via Satellite, an Avionics sister publication. It has been edited.

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