Consultation could lead to 10 times faster inflight connectivity

Ofcom launched a consultation on high-speed broadband for transport such as planes, trains and ships.
Faster inflight connectivity on the way
Faster inflight connectivity on the way

UK communications regulator Ofcom has launched a consultation process aimed at giving the go-ahead for high-speed broadband for moving transport such as planes, trains and ships.

The regulator is consulting on regulations that cover the use of Earth Stations on Mobile Platforms (ESOMPs).

The new technology could deliver connections up to ten times faster than the limited services currently available to passengers.

It could offer broadband at 50mbps (megabits per second) – compared with 14.7mbps for the average home connection – although technology experts believe 10mbps is more realistic.

WiFi services to air passengers are only offered by a small number of airlines and mobile network and WiFi connections on trains travelling through rural areas can be regularly curtailed.

The faster ground to satellite services are dependent of course on whether airlines, cruise companies and train companies pay to access such satellite services, with usage charges inevitably levied to all but the most premium passengers.

The US Federal Communications Commission [FCC] has already authorised the use of ESOMPs.

Ofcom’s consultation gives stakeholders and commercial enterprises the chance to offer feedback with an official decision over ESOMPs to be taken in December 2013, before the technology is rolled out in 2014.