Gogo's In-Flight Internet To Move at Jet Speed
By Seth Fitzgerald, September 12, 2013 3:35PM
Business professionals, along with regular fliers, love the ability to access the Internet while on a plane. However, the Wi-Fi data speeds on most planes is horrendous and prevents users from accessing videos and other larger files.
Gogo, which already equips some airlines with in-flight Internet access, has come out with a new technology capable of providing 60 Mbps data speeds. The technology behind this innovation is called Gogo GTO (Ground to Orbit) which can use satellites for downloads and cellular networks for uploads, thereby increasing data speeds.
Hybrid In-Flight Internet Service
To start, Gogo will work with Virgin America to launch the GTO service in 2014. Right now, Gogo's Internet service for airplanes only provides regular data speeds of 3-10 Mbps, about the same speed as 3G wireless . Gogo GTO should be able to reach speeds 20 times faster.
The company already has ground-based receivers that will still be used for uploads, but by providing a hybrid service, downloads will come significantly faster from satellites. Other companies are only able to provide a max of 10 Mbps, so the 60 Mbps is far superior to what any other company is offering for in-flight Internet service.
Gogo said it will use Ku microwave antennae to communicate with the satellites. Ku antennas are smaller than the ones used on airplanes which are partnered with other Internet service providers.
The Price of Internet
Gogo has yet to announce how much it will charge for the upgraded in-flight Internet service, but when the company upgraded its service last year to 10 Mbps the cost rose, and it likely will do the same this time.
Just like on-ground Internet service, it is not cheap to connect on an airplane. Gogo currently charges $45 a month for frequent fliers, which provides unlimited Internet access, and also offers a $14 day pass. Either way, airline tickets are already expensive, so adding $14 is not always easy.
At the same time, it makes sense that accessing the Internet -- even for just a few hours -- is expensive, especially in the United States. For years, people have been complaining about how much regular Internet service providers charge each month.
For speeds that are significantly less than what is found overseas, Internet users in the U.S. pay the same or more than a customer in Asia would. On top of that, the speeds from Gogo are even more impressive than they look.
Right now, the average Internet speed for an American home is around 8 Mbps. When compared with the 60 Mbps potential from Gogo, most people would love to have that type of service in their home for $45 a month.