Viasat Using Open Caching to Bring Free fuboTV to Connected Flights

Viasat has a new partnership that will bring fubo TV to aircraft equipped with its satellite connectivity. Photo: Viasat

Under a new partnership, satellite communications provider Viasat and fuboTV will become the first two companies to use open caching standards developed by the Streaming Video Alliance to bring live streaming premium over-the-top (OTT) and video on-demand television programming to airline passengers.

The partnership will provide airlines equipped with Viasat’s connectivity the ability to start providing fuboTV content free of charge to passengers. fuboTV subscribers will have free access to their fuboTV subscription on Viasat-equipped flights, while non-subscribers will be required to sign up for a free seven-day trial of the service.

fubo Sports Network, a separate offering, will also be made available for passengers with or without signing up for the seven-day trial.

fuboTV subscribers will be able to view their subscription on flights featuring Viasat connectivity. Passengers can access fuboTV for free in-flight with a seven-day trial under the new partnership. Photo: fuboTV

“The open caching protocols from the Streaming Video Alliance are a way for us to work with content providers to optimize delivery of content over our network,” Grant Markhart, director of strategic partnerships for Viasat told Avionics International. “This partnership is the first one within the aviation industry to take advantage of those  protocols. They basically provide a better way of connecting the passenger’s device to nodes that are on the plane. It’s a way to allow us to multi-cast content over our network.”

According to Markhart, the antenna, radome, modem, wireless access points and onboard server that connects aircraft to its network and provides access to in-flight Wi-Fi for passengers will not require any type of hardware upgrades to enable the new functionality. Only a few software updates will be required to incorporate the use of open caching standards, Markhart said.

An overview of the open caching network architecture established by the Streaming Video Alliance shows two different methods for delivering content: one through an HTTP redirect and the other with a DNS resolution.

Above is an overview of how the open caching network content request workflow works with HTTP redirects, below is the other method, using DNS. Photo: The Streaming Video Alliance.


Markhart also compared the new partnership to an existing partnership with Apple Music that allows American Airlines’ passengers to listen to Apple Music for free when connected to Viasat’s network on Viasat-equipped American planes.

Through the partnership, Viasat is not requiring passengers to purchase in-flight internet to access fuboTV’s content. Instead, they will be able to access fubo Sports Network without a subscription or will be required to sign up for a free seven-day trial for fuboTV to view the rest of their offerings.

“I don’t think this is a partnership we could have done with any partner, the reliability of Viasat’s network allows us to show our content in a way that not many others would,” Cristina Arango, director of strategic partnerships for fuboTV said.

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“This is available on users’ personal devices only, such as a phone, iPad or laptop, we have apps on iOS and Android, and a web experience as well. The part of being able to access it without Wi-Fi is the fact our apps and site are going to be white listed so just by connecting to the network, you will just either need a subscription or to start a new free trial,” Arango said.

The two companies have not yet announced a launch airline for the new offering, however Markhart said they expect it to happen soon.

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