Supersonic wi-fi on planes by 2014
Who needs jetpacks? Soon, you might be able to stream Netflix when you’re in European airspace, thanks to a new satellite connection that’s 10 times faster than the current service.
Ofcom are making moves to licence the high speed sci-fi wi-fi, which is rather amazingly called 'Earth Stations on Mobile Platforms' (or ESOMPs). They launched a consultation last week, and have already been working with communications regulators in Europe. Now they are waiting for airlines to decide whether it would be commercially viable to adopt the system in the UK.
It could also be used on trains - and let’s face it, with patchy to non-existent 3G coverage in some parts of the country, that would be a massive improvement.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission has approved the use of ESOMPs, and although airlines haven’t yet said they’ll use the system, there are some encouraging signs – a bit like when your mum says ‘we’ll see.’
British Airways' in-flight entertainment and technology manager, Richard D'Cruze, said BA was ‘closely monitoring developments in the connectivity market in both the satellite and direct air-to-ground technology areas.’
Does that mean next year we’ll be able to get a gin and tonic, a small packet of peanuts and 82 episodes of Arrested Development? Pleeeeeease say yes.